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


Jane Jacobs - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Jane Jacobs, OC , O.Ont (May 4, 1916 - April 25, 2006) was an American-born Canadian writer and activist. She is best known for The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961), a powerful critique of the urban renewal policies of the 1950s in the United States. The book has been credited with reaching beyond planning issues to influence the spirit of the times. 'Jacobs came down firmly on the side of spontaneous inventiveness of individuals, as against abstract plans imposed by governments and corporations,' wrote Canadian critic Robert Fulford. 'She was an unlikely intellectual warrior, a theorist who opposed most theories, a teacher with no teaching job and no university degree, a writer who wrote well but infrequently.' ..."


4 May 1916, Jane Butzner, in Scranton, Pennsylvania


25 Apr 2006, in Toronto, Ontario


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."