Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses

As a follow-up to the last post, I’ve been enjoying ‘Twenty Minutes in Manhattan’ by Michael Sorkin.  Unsurprisingly, he mentions Jane Jacobs a number of times – she’s the author of the 1961 classic ‘Death and Life of Great American Cities’ which was a brand new look at the diversity and density and in some ways inefficiency that makes cities vibrant and livable.

There’s a new book out on Jacobs and her nemesis, Robert Moses, city development planner of New York City in those days.  Moses was a proponent of so-called urban renewal, and a big believer in highways.  The book is ‘Wrestling with Moses’ by Anthony Flint – subtitled ‘How Jane Jacobs Took On New York’s Master Builder and Transformed the American City’. Flint comes to Portland on Oct. 15 at Powell’s on Burnside, and I look forward to it.  Here’s a link to a short review at Metropolis magazine.

As a side note, the Portland Mercury recently ran a story on some of the urban development plans that had been drawn up back in the 1960s and before.  And in fact Robert Moses was involved with a 1943 plan for Portland which has been made available electronically; the link is here on the Mercury’s blog.

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  • oakhill193  On October 14, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    If you go to see Jane Jacobs ask her if she knows anything about the Velvet Underground.

  • Curt  On October 15, 2009 at 8:20 am

    Unfortunately Jane Jacobs died a couple years back, but I’m sure she was a big fan!

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