Today we celebrate what would have been the 100th birthday of Jane Jacobs, the woman who changed how we think about city planning forever. But Jane did SO much more in her incredible life. Click through for five important facts about Jane!
Jane Jacobs would have been 100 years-old today, May 4, 2016; she died at the age of 89 in 2006. Jane was an astounding woman who challenged rebuilding practices in post-World War II America. Jane wrote the prolific book The Death and Life of Great American Cities in 1961, and became a legend. And that’s why she’s being honored as today’s Google Doodle! We’ve gathered five more important facts about Jane’s life — click through to learn more!
1. “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” sparked the New Urbanism movement
Post World War II, new developments and freeways were cropping up everywhere, and in turn city planners were demolishing historic sites and smaller neighborhoods — without any input from the community. Jane had no training in city planning, but she was brilliant. Take this excerpt from her book:
Whenever and wherever societies have flourished and prospered rather than stagnated and decayed, creative and workable cities have been at the core of the phenomenon. Decaying cities, declining economies, and mounting social troubles travel together. The combination is not coincidental.
2. She wrote a protest song with Bob Dylan
No, really. Jane led the fight to block New York city planner Robert Moses‘ plan to build a freeway that cut through Greenwich Village (can you imagine??). The massive protests were capped with a protest song created by her and Bob Dylan, called “Listen, Robert Moses”.
3. Her fight with Robert Moses has been turned into an opera
Called A Marvelous Order, Jane’s passionate fight against Robert was so legendary, so historic, that it’s been memorialized in a show. The title of the opera comes from a passage in her book: “Under the seeming disorder of the old city, wherever the old city is working successfully, is a marvelous order for maintaining the safety of the streets and the freedom of the city.”
4. Jane wrote books up until her death in 2006
While Death and Life was her masterpiece, Jane also wrote: The Economy of Cities, Dark Age Ahead, Jane Jacobs: The Last Interview: and Other Conversations, Cities and the Wealth of Nations, Systems of Survival, and The Nature of Economies.
5. You can celebrate her centennial by going on Jane’s Walk
Jane’s friends started a beautiful tradition after her death called Jane’s Walk. You sign up for guided walking tours in your area and learn so much about your city that you never knew before. Jane’s Walks are hosted around the world, and on May 6-8, there will be special walks in honor of Jane’s 100th.
HollywoodLifers, did you learn something new about Jane today? Tell us in the comments!