A Montrealer’s Ode to Jane Jacobs, Economist
Why do cities exist? Can’t we find better ways of organizing life on earth? With the climate crisis and other environmental issues, are cities part of the problem? Or can they help solve the problems of our time?
Cities Matter answers those questions and more.
Jane Jacobs is known mainly as a thinker of all things urban. That she was. But Ramsay insists that she was also a very important—and much underestimated—economist. Jacobs innovated particularly on how cities drive the development of nations and international trade.
Ramsay has delved into Jacobs’ work and extracted the features of her economic thought. Presenting them in a palatable and concise format, he has also brought to bear classical economic geography along with Alfred Marshall’s economies of agglomeration.
Jane Jacobs was also very pragmatic. Borrowing from her approach, Ramsay proposes real-life exercises for people wishing to compare suburban and urban living conditions, real estate investments, or for businesses doing transport-cost analysis.
Some predict that the Covid crisis combined with high tech means urban life is doomed, that the bucolic periphery will triumph over big messy cities.
That’s not going to happen, says Ramsay.