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.