Uses of City Neighborhoods
Chapter six, Uses of City Neighborhoods, is, appropriately, the section of the book where Jacobs unleashes most of her vitriol on the UWS. Jacobs again refers to the UWS as a "badly failed area" and gives high public school turnover rates of 50% to 92% as examples of "social disintegration" (Jacobs 1961, 147). On the following page, in attempting to break the stereotypical equating of poverty with neighborhood failure, Jacobs includes Morningside Heights in a list of neighborhoods with middle- and upper-class populations where, "...bad neighborhoods were created, neighborhoods whose apathy and internal failure grew greater with time instead of less."
Later in the chapter six, Jacobs attributes failure and "incompetence" in the area, in part, to the predominance of "long, monotonous, self-isolating blocks on Manhattan's West Side" that have a tendency to make each street into a, "separate world of its own." Quoting an NYU sociology professor, "The present state of the neighborhood indicates that the people there have lost the capacity for collective action, or else they would long since have pressured the city government and the social agencies into correcting some of the problems of community living." (Jacobs 1961, 157)
This physical and social isolation then finds its manifestation in an anecdote featuring the star of so many neighborhood horror stories, the drug haven - which would evolve in the 1980s into the "crack house." Despite the presence on an UWS street of a predominance of "respectable" residents, drug dealing began on the street in the mid 1950s. Repeated complaints to the police (who might have been compromised by incompetence, corruption, understaffing or unspoken policy) were ignored, and the dealing continued, bringing with it crime and neighborhood decline. As an isolated unit, the street was powerless to resist (Jacobs 1961, 160).
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