By Chris Hall
These short pieces showcase Jacobs's opposition to top-down bureaucratic arrogance and big-money property development
The need for Jane Jacobs and her clear-eyed human-scale urbanism is as strong as ever. Her masterpiece The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961) described in brilliant detail the intricate ecology of how a city works (New York) or does not work (Detroit). Though Jacobs never wrote fiction, the book was more like a novelistic rendering of lived street life than a scholarly text. She was, as she once described herself, a “student of cities”, more interested in the effects of buildings than their design.