Some among us eagerly await Jane Jacobs's provocatively titled new book, "Dark Age Ahead." Sounds pessimistic, though I would imagine in a tone very different from Kunstler's.
Yet, just a year ago, in an interview, there was this exchange:
Q. Do you see a more exciting time today, with these new technologies? Or have we become more cynical?
A. I think that the world is getting more exciting. I think the end of the Cold War, which made the whole world in many ways absurd…. Think of how many idiotic things were done, on both sides, everywhere, because of the exigencies of that cold war. It has been a great liberation to have that off us. But also, we are living, I am convinced, in one of the most intellectually exciting times the human race has ever gone through. We are emerging from this linear cause-and-effect way of seeing the world into a way that has really been led by the ecologists, into a Web world, beginning to understand relationships in quite a different way. And it is affecting everything. And no end of people have grasped this and are seeing the world differently and analyzing things differently and seeing possibilities differently--basically in a very hopeful way. And I think this is awfully exciting. People who are younger than I am, you are lucky. You can play a part in what I think can be an extremely hopeful stage.
For those in New York, Jacobs will be speaking--on the past, present, and future of skyscrapers!--at City College on May 6. It is the "First Annual Lewis Mumford Lecture." I wonder what Mumford would have made of that!