Jane Jacobs: Urban Planning Heretic

by Virginia Fairweather, Editor; ASCE News, New York, N.Y.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1977, Vol. 47, Issue 13, Pg. 131-134

Document Type: Feature article


The impact of Jane Jacobs' book The Death and Life of Great American Cities, published in 1961, is assessed and, to some extent, contrasted with the more tangible legacy of Robert Moses. Jacobs harshly criticized previous urban renewal approaches and analyzed the effects of such projects on people and neighborhoods. The practice of destroying or condemning large portions of cities to construct freeways, other transportation facilities or public housing projects, has changed markedly in the years since her book was written. The affected citizens have a large voice in project planning today. Other aspects of her approach that have affected the thinking of urban planners: mixed use zoning, preservation of older buildings, reappraisal of the value of parks and civic centers; the need for diversity to keep a city or neighborhood viable. Case histories are included.

Subject Headings: Urban development | Residential location | Public buildings | Case studies | Lifeline systems | Highways and roads | Public transportation | Housing

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