While I was distracted by my birthday I was sad to hear yesterday that author, activist, and thinker Jane Jacobs died yesterday in Toronto at the age of 89. Although her obituary in today’s Post is good, the New York Times piece is longer and does a better job explaining her life and ideas.
I think it’s difficult to exaggerate the impact of her 1961 book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Not only did her book have a profound impact on the professions of city planning and architecture, it also helped revolutionize the way Americans think about cities. Although many important critiques have been made of her books (which I’ll save for another time), I found her books highly stimulating and her ideas have found their way into my undergraduate honors thesis and on this blog.