Jane Jacobs was the definitive “grassroots” activist and one of the first to rail against Urban Renewal projects which tore down whole city blocks. In the face of Urban Renewal, in 1961, the architectural writer dared to question the wisdom of the male dominated city planning professionals.  She wrote  The Death and Life of Great American Cities. In it she warned that  urban neighborhoods were becoming threadbare as the next generation moved into the suburbs.  She recognized that city sidewalks buzzing with shopkeepers  and customers, stay-at-home moms, children, and grandparents, postal workers, police, and the meter reader and walkers  stitched themselves  into a small place and how those connections formed a many colored urban quilt.  She asked if removing dilapidated buildings and replacing them with high rise public housing was too simple a solution for a complex problem.  Continue reading

The Death and Life of Great American Cities Book Cover The Death and Life of Great American Cities
Jane Jacobs
Vintage Books
December 1992