Passing of a great urban guru: Jane Jacobs
I encountered Jane Jacobs last semester as one of the foremost urban culture writers to grace the city as we know it.
She wrote the book “Death and Life” which was one of the foremost pieces on creating municipal diversity
1. A street or district must serve several primary functions
2. Blocks must be short
3. Buildings must vary in age, condition and use.
4. Population must be dense
She described everyday life as she saw it from her home above a candy store in New York City. She goes through her daily life and understands the way a community works from her daily routine and things considered mundane, such as taking out the trash.
In at least five fields of inquiry, she thought deeply and innovatively: urban design, urban history, regional economics, the morality of the economy and the nature of economic growth.
She continued her life as an avid educator of the city planners of the day.
In a Fortune magazine article in 1958, she concluded a trial run-style essay saying, “Designing a dream city is easy, rebuilding one takes imagination”
She will be sorely missed in the Cities fraternity by novices such as myself and her contemporaries in the world of Urban Studies.
Aptly eulogized in the New York Times 04/26/2006, she not be easily forgotten.