Jane Jacobs on the Nature of Development

Jane Jacobs is best known as a writer about cities and as a vigorous critic of urban planning.  The purpose of this paper is to suggest that she should be read as a writer on economic development who focuses on cities as the principal sites of development.  The recently upsurge of interest in migration policies and development is taken as the entry point into her work, e.g., to explain why “poverty reduction” through remittances will tend to be nondevelopmental.  Her ecologically-inspired “tangled bank” conception of development as growth through differentiation is used to elucidate a number of developmental issues.  It also shows how the “spin-off conundrum” of multiproduct diversification is important to industrial development policies.  Several examples are outlined of how that problem has been approached.

Click here to download the paper.