In Our Hearts We Knew Jane Jacobs Was Right

This summer, LCDG principal Lance Bird confirmed what Jane Jacobs preached -- there’s something about the scale of neighborhoods that encourages community. In Lance’s first trip to Cartagena’s Old Town, he savored the friendly scale of 2- and 3-story buildings fronting on narrow streets. Overhead, colorful flower-bedecked balconies are everywhere. Just a mile-or-so square, the walled Old Town abuts new, large-scale development with more than 40 high-rises.  It’s this severe contrast that reminds us the Spanish got it right 500 years ago. In June, with dripping humidity, temperatures soar above 100 degrees. But searing Colombian sunlight rarely reaches pedestrians. Old Town is a joyous blend of race, youth and elderly, workers and tourists, residents, and shoppers. Garden-like squares and plazas attract impromptu high-energy vendors, musicians, artists, and people-watchers. Lance will be back with sketch book in hand.