This book. Probably one of the most influential books I read in college. A required read that is still in my personal library today. I haven’t held on to many things from that era in my life but this book is still with me — tattered, worn, well read and well loved.
This July 1, 2017 my favorite city (oh Melbourne how I love thee!) will be celebrating the ideas of author Jane Jacobs with a screening of a new documentary on the fight to save her beloved Greenwich Village neighborhood from sure ruin by big bad government city planners, as the kick off to Open House Melbourne — an annual celebration of the city and its architecture where for two days, hundreds of buildings are opened to the public for tours amidst a month long series of related activities. I’m itching to get down there for one of these tour weekends but that’s a whole other story. In addition, there will be talks and walks as part of the What Would Jane Do? programming in this year’s cultural festival.
Fret not my fellow Americans, the documentary Citizen Jane: Battle for the City is also on in this country, screening now in select cities and streaming On Demand.
It’s a thought provoking look at the fight Jane Jacobs lead in her lifetime with a healthy dose of commentary on city planning and where our cities are headed ’round the world. Worth a watch. But do me a favor, read the book. Jane Jacobs was not only a revolutionary thinker, she was an eloquent writer and inspiring teacher.
The ideas she expounded have not been lost. Not in the least. You can experience them right in the place where you live thru citizen-led walking tours known as Jane’s Walks. Walking tours that invite citizens to seek, observe and reflect upon their city surroundings, held every May on Jane Jacobs birthday around the world. A fitting tribute.