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Cityscape: The Legacy of Jane Jacobs

Washington Sqaure Park

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Imagine running a highway through Washington Square Park.  That could have happened. Urban planner Robert Moses put the idea on the table in the 1950s. But, then Jane Jacobs intervened.  The urbanist and activist led the successful fight against the four-lane highway, as well as other Robert Moses' projects. Jacobs was opposed to the kind of city planning that involves big development and urban renewal projects that tear down old communities. She’s best known for her book The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Jacobs’ ideas have often been met with criticism from developers and city planners.  But, a lot of planning experts agree that her work helped to shape modern thinking about Jane Jacobs would have turned 100 on May 4th. Several activities are planned in New York City and beyond this month to celebrate her life and legacy, including an event called Jane’s Walk. On this edition of Cityscape, we're exploring the life and legacy of Jane Jacobs.