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Jane Jacobs and her biginnings

Jane Jacobs and her biginnings

Born in a Jewish family in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Jane Jacobs is considered a founder of the New Urbanist movement.

What made her vision particular was the fact that she would look at cities as though they were living ecosystems, made up of interconnected elements. Furthermore, she was not into overcrowded cities, but rather well-planned high density. Having always been attracted by the design of the cities, she took up a career in writing on the topic once she moved in New York City and later on in Greenwich Village.

Engaging in urban planning

  • The writer and journalist Jane Jacobs is mainly known for her writings on urban planning.
  • Through magazines such as Architectural Forum or Fortune, she explained her perception on what was wrong with the approach to redevelopment in New York City, for instance.
  • After having attended courses on urban planning, she launched her most famous book 'The death and life of great American cities', which was both highly praised and criticized.

'The death and life of great American cities'

Jane Jacobs was a writer and activist who published seven books throughout her lifetime and many more articles on urban planning in different magazines. In her most famous book, she presents new principles of city building and rebuilding. The focus is on great cities rather than on towns or suburbs. Furthermore, conventional urban is blamed for not having taken into consideration community's needs and natural ecosystems.

From the writer's point of view, diversity is the key principle and it can be reached by making sure of the following elements: mixing uses and functions within the neighborhoods as well as older buildings with newer ones, short blocks and denser neighborhoods.

Jane Jacobs' activism

The writer Jane Jacobs has always taken a high interest in urban planning, emphasizing the necessity to take into account community's needs.

She was particularly involved in redevelopment projects such as the ones concerning the Greenwich Village and Toronto, where she participated in demonstrations against changes that did not focus on community, but on individual interests of the 'master builders'.

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