Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Jane Jacobs: 1916-2006

We are all Jacobsians now.
And those who aren't, should be.
Jane Jacobs inspired so many people to believe in cities. When she pointed out that the old scruffy mix in her Greenwich Village neighborhood was better than some sanitized tower, the experts dismissed her criticism as the naive views of a housewife - a mother. She was some mother. Jacobs was part of a line-up of smart, independent-thinking women who were able to critique the male-dominated world of the '50s and '60s because they were outside it and could see it fresh. Rachel Carson. Pauline Kael. Ada Louise Huxtable. Denise Scott Brown. They remain my inspiration, especially Jane.
Jane thought, therefore I am.

4 Comments:

Blogger rasphila said...

Jane Jacobs was the first writer who made me feel good about being a city person. My relatives were all from small towns and the country and had no time for the city, which somehow made me feel inferior. Jane Jacobs changed all that for me. We are all lucky to have her work.

12:40 PM  
Blogger amusing said...

And, sadly, like several of the other women on your list, not enough people are paying heed to her wise words and instead perpetuate blunders. Farewell, Ms. Jacobs and a pass of the baton to those she inspired. May they keep up the good work, in the face of formidable indifference.

10:30 PM  
Blogger bartlett said...

It would be interesting to start a thread about some of Jacobs' thoughts about Philadelphia and how those thoughts seem to us today. I still find her writing on the four squares very interesting, and her panning of the Ben Franklin Parkway is must reading.

4:43 PM  
Anonymous thomas said...

the passing of jane jacobs is the passing of a truly genuine and unique mind. her words about city planning and daily interactions should be read by all. no, she wasnt perfect and she never claimed to be. but, she had conviction and poise and chose to never stop questioning the actions of planners and designers. our time was lucky to have her influence and insight and hopefully at some point soon the united states will consider some of its actions much further then those which are simply a passing thought. hopefully those that support truly wasteful, unsustainable planning and construction methods that dominate much of our suburbanized, suv ridden landscape will soon realize their devastating social, environmental and aesthetic impacts on our land and society...

2:43 PM  

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