20th century American/Canadian writer, author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities
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  • Jane Jacobs

    Jane Jacobs OC OOnt (born Jane Butzner; 4 May 1916 - 25 April 2006) was an American-Canadian journalist, author and activist best known for her influence on urban studies, sociology and economics. Her influential book The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961) argued that urban renewal did not respect the needs of most city-dwellers. In the book she introduced sociological concepts such as "eyes on the street" and "social capital".

    Reference

    Jacobs, Jane (1916-2006), by Sanford Ikeda, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical essay
    "Jane Jacobs, a pioneering urbanologist, social theorist, and activist, is best known for The Death and Life of Great American Cities, published in 1961. Her stated objective was to overthrow the rationalistic urban design theories and heavy-handed practices of the day, best illustrated by the 'radiant-city' concept of the architect Le Corbusier and the municipal mega-development policies of the urban planner Robert Moses. To Jacobs, a living city cannot conform to a single rational or aesthetic ideal because it poses a 'problem of organized complexity' that emerges from the free interaction of millions of individuals."

    Born

    4 May 1916, Jane Butzner, in Scranton, Pennsylvania

    Died

    25 Apr 2006, in Toronto, Ontario

    Articles

    35 Heroes of Freedom: Celebrating the people who have made the world groovier and groovier since 1968, Reason, Dec 2003
    List of individuals who, according to Reason editors, have "have made the world a freer, better, and more libertarian place by example, invention, or action" (includes the unknown martyr of Tiananmen Square and a generic "The Yuppie")
    "There's Jane Jacobs the scholar, whose books ... undermined the ideas of planners ... And then there's Jane Jacobs the activist, who went to the barricades to keep people ... from ripping out the heart of the particular cities she lived in. Few others did as much to defend the lives people forged for themselves against the static visions planning elites love to impose."
    Jane Jacobs: The Spontaneity of Cities, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Jul 2006
    Memorial commentary, in particular about Jacob's books against urban planning and about her activism
    "She was truly a remarkable woman. With no more than a high-school diploma, but also a keen eye for what other people miss and the ability to turn a phrase, she single-handedly demolished orthodox urban planning in the United States. To the 'planner knows best' advocates she responded, People living their everyday lives know better. In other words, The Plan should not be allowed to overrule people's own plans."

    The introductory paragraph uses material from a Wikipedia article, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.