October 1961: 'The Death and Life of Great American Cities'

The influential book by urban activist Jane Jacobs is published. In it, the New York resident takes direct aim at urban planning policies. From a 2011 article in The Guardian newspaper: "Jacobs, a housewife, mother and part-time architectural journalist, had been drawn into the campaign to prevent New York's dictatorial planning boss Robert Moses -- who had already ripped up swaths of the city -- from driving a highway through her native Greenwich Village. ... But her book did not just dwell, negatively, on the harm New York's car-obsessed, modern-minded planners were doing. Building on close observeration of her own and other neighborhoods, she mounted a thorough and original defense of traditional city forms against both the garden city movement and modernist city planning. She argued that dense, mixed-income mixed-use neighborhoods, designed around short city blocks with busy amenity-lined streets and small parks, had a huge range of benefits unappreciated by modern urban planners, who mistakenly associated the old city with all the evils of the 19th-century slum."

The photo shows Jacobs at a December 1961 news conference of the Committee to Save the West Village. (From the New York World-Telegram & Sun Newspaper Collection, Library of Congress)

* Short biography (from Project for Public Spaces): @
* New York Times review (November 5, 1961): @
* "Cobblestone Conservative: How Jane Jacobs saved New York City's Soul" (The American Conservative, October 2011): @
* Symposium on book and its impact (From The American Conservative): @
* "Genius of Common Sense: Jane Jacobs and the story of 'The Death and Life of Great American Cities' " (book by Glenna Lang and Marjory Wunsch): @
* "Wrestling with Moses: How Jane Jacobs Took On New York's Master Builder and Transformed the American City" (book by Anthony Flint): @
* "Downtown is for People" (1958 article by Jacobs in Fortune magazine): @
* New York Times obituary (2006): @

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog archive


Follow: @