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September 7, 2007

Coming: the Jane Jacobs exhibit and discussions; AY gets some notice

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder previews the upcoming exhibit on Jane Jacobs, presented by the Municipal Art Society:

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If earlier this year we encountered a reassessment of Robert Moses, soon we’ll have a chance to examine his one-time antagonist, author and activist Jane Jacobs, whose 1961 book The Death and Life of Great American Cities took on an entire generation of urban planners.

The Municipal Art Society (MAS), with sponsorship from the Rockefeller Foundation—which funded Jacobs and now funds medals in her honor—will on Sept. 25 open the “Jane Jacobs and the Future of New York” exhibit. MAS then will host several panels regarding Jacobs’s relevance today, three of which will touch on Atlantic Yards.

(A web site for the exhibit will go live on September 10.)

AY effect?

While there’s no clue yet what the exhibit might say about Atlantic Yards, the press release hints at potential criticism. “The project presents the principles and activism of Jane Jacobs and challenges New York City residents to study the use of their city, its streets and the built environment,” said Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation. “The project inspires citizens to support and fight for the health of their own neighborhoods, and it encourages city officials, developers, planners and architects to embrace and implement Jane Jacobs’ teachings.”

The MAS itself has not joined the main Atlantic Yards opposition, steering clear of Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn and its lawsuits, but has spearheaded the BrooklynSpeaks coalition, which began last year and called for major changes in the project, hoping for some political and community leverage. Some of BrooklynSpeaks' criticisms, including the need for the project to "respect and integrate with the surrounding neighborhoods," reflect Jacobs' influence.

Several programs being held in conjunction with the exhibit feature Atlantic Yards notables, including Norman Oder, architect Marshall Brown, former City Planning Commish Ron Shiffman, Brooklyn Speaks coalition member Michelle de la Uz, and project supporter and Daily News columnist Errol Louis. There are more details in Oder's post.

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Posted by lumi at September 7, 2007 8:08 AM