Page N2.1 . 17 May 2006                     
ArchitectureWeek - News Department
< Prev Page Next Page >
  • Coverings Awards 2006
  • Jane Jacobs, City Seer
  • AIA Housing Awards 2006
  • Energy Concerns Mainstream

      Current Contents
      Blog Center
      Download Center
      New Products
      Products Guide
      Classic Home
      Architecture Forum
      Architects Directory
      Topics Library
      Complete Archive
      Web Directory
      About ArchWeek
      Subscribe & Contribute
      Free Newsletters


    [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Jane Jacobs, City Seer

    by Howard Davis

    Jane Jacobs, who turned 20th-century modernist urban thinking on its head in 1961 with the publication of The Death and Life of Great American Cities, died last week in Toronto, nine days shy of her 90th birthday.

    Like many great thinkers, Jacobs saw the world with sharp perception, without intellectual prejudice, and with a fearlessness about the consequences of her observations. Applying the observational rigor of a natural scientist to that most complex of human artifacts, the city, she cut through academic theories to develop a powerful set of insights that put people, neighborhoods, and ordinary daily life in the forefront of American urbanism.

    Born in Scranton, Pennsylvania in 1916, Jacobs was already an independent thinker and rebel as a schoolgirl. She began her working life during the Great Depression with a series of low-paying jobs that eventually led to a writing stint at Architectural Forum, giving her thinking its first public platform.

    Perhaps her lack of a formal education in architecture or planning helped Jacobs to look at cities outside the constraints of conventional theories. She developed her insights while looking down at an active Greenwich Village street from her own apartment at 555 Hudson Street.   >>>

    Discuss this article in the Architecture Forum...


    ArchWeek Image

    New York's Chinatown, a gritty but active urban environment.
    Photo: Howard Davis

    ArchWeek Image

    Urbanity in Toronto, adoptive home of Jane Jacobs.
    Photo: David Owen


    Click on thumbnail images
    to view full-size pictures.

    < Prev Page Next Page > Send this to a friend       Subscribe       Contribute       Media Kit       Privacy       Comments
    ARCHWEEK   |   GREAT BUILDINGS   |   DISCUSSION   |   NEW BOOKS   |   FREE 3D   |   SEARCH © 2006 Artifice, Inc. - All Rights Reserved