From my Civic Minded blog on Corante:
Today marked the end of Jane Jacobs' life, but not of her work. Jacobs' pioneering work in urban planning changed the way we think about cities — and by redefining our ideas about how cities work as communities, she set the stage for the best thinking about online community today….
Jacobs' death reminds me how much my own work in online community, and the work of Internet community-builders in general, owes to that earlier generation who reclaimed urban centres as living communities. The most important principles of online community building and online dialogue grow out of the experiences of urban community planners and participation planners: Communities are about people, not structures. Healthy communities are owned and shaped by their members, not by some team of expert planners. Communities thrive on activity and diversity. And if many of the most influential experiments in online community are those that tie online communities to real-world towns and cities — projects like Die Digitale Stadt, MeetUp or even craigslist — they also owe a debt to Jacobs for helping to keep those real-world communities vital.