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April 26, 2006

She was right about everything, of course...

jacobs.jpg Why do we honor Jane Jacobs? The Guttersnipes explain it this way:

She was right about everything, of course—why it's good to leave keys with a shopkeeper, why it's bad to knock down SoHo for a highway (even if that highway might have held above it a great Paul Rudolph masterpiece)—and in the best way: simple and direct, because she could be, because the rhetoric of her day (cue ominous parallelism...) had gone so far awry that the very act of exercising common sense was radical. We're there again, folks. This time without our Jane.

The point bears repeating, "we're there again folks." But, we could just as easily say, we'll always have "our Jane;" Jacobs didn't really invent anything, yet her life and keen intellect bore witness and gave voice to that which had existed since the dawn of human civilization.

Last year, Jane Jacobs submitted a friend of the court brief in the bellweather eminent domain case, Kelo vs. New London.

Here's today's coverage:
The NY Times, Jane Jacobs, Social Critic Who Redefined and Championed Cities, Is Dead at 89
NY Daily News, Jane Jacobs dies. Stared down Robert Moses.
AP, via NY Newsday, Jane Jacobs, author and activist, dead at 89

Curbed.com linked several blog commentaries and compiled links to interviews.

Aaron Naparstek mused in The New York Times last week that "If Jane Jacobs had the tools and technology back when she was fighting Robert Moses' plans to bulldoze Lower Manhattan, I bet 'The Death and Life of Great American Cities' would have been a blog." This week Naparstek's blog quotes Jacobs in reference to closing our urban parks to automobile traffic.

The Hillbilly Bard of Brooklyn, Dope on the Slope, remembers Jane Jacobs and explains why Brooklyn now needs her more than ever.

While the Bruce Ratners and Frank Gehrys co-opt Jacobs' principles by paying lip service to things like "human scale" and "street walls," New Yorkers can find inspiration in the vision and vigor that enabled Jacobs to save Greenwich Village from planners and politicians intent on "progress."

Posted by lumi at April 26, 2006 9:49 AM