On May 16, 2017, we will celebrate Jane Jacobs’ contribution to our understanding of modern cities once more.
Roberta Brandes Gratz, the celebrated author of “We are Still Here, Ya Bastards” and Susanne Komossa, Associate Professor at Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment TU Delft and author of the book The Dutch Urban Block and the Public Realm: Models, Rules, Ideals will discuss Jane’s ideas and answer questions from the public.
This is the closing event of the centennial celebrations of Jane Jacobs.
‘Jane Jacobs is still here’, closing of the Jane Jacobs centennial year, May 16, 12:15 Berlagezaal 1, A+BE, Julianalaan 134, Delft.
Roberta Brandes Gratz: Jane Jacobs is still here!
Jane Jacobs changed the way the world views cities. But is she as relevant today as when her first book burst on the scene in 1961 to challenge the planning orthodoxy of the day?
Sixty-six years since ‘The Death and Life of Great American Cities’ came out, people constantly ask “What would Jane say?” about one urban challenge or another. Is that the right question? Roberta Brandes Gratz will reflect on this and other questions.
Roberta is an American award-winning journalist and urban critic, lecturer and author of the books ‘We’re Still Here Ya Bastards: How the People of New Orleans Rebuilt Their City’; ‘The Battle For Gotham: New York in the Shadow of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs’; the now classics ‘The Living City: Thinking Small in a Big Way’, and ‘Cities Back from the Edge: New Life for Downtown’. Roberta was also a longtime friend of Jacobs.
Susanne Komossa: Lessons taught by J.J.; lessons learned by an architect
“Jane Jacobs is probably one of the most important thinkers of the 20th century. Like Hannah Ahrendt, she felt obliged to think and investigate freely and without fear of being caught by conventions. Her critique of Lewis Mumford, The Culture of Cities (1938) is pivotal for our understanding of contemporary cities and the forces that drive change. Basically, she marks the transition from thinking and urban design based on large scale labor to – what we would call today – the creative and inclusive city that is characterised by the dynamics between small/medium and large companies and the integration and overlap of work, leisure and everyday life of citizens.
Jacobs discussed these issues not only in the book ‘The Death and Life of Great American Cities’ (1961) but also in ‘The Economy of Cities’ (1969) and ‘Cities and the Wealth of Nations’ (1984). For a long time, thinking ‘economy’ was regarded as minor to cultural or political engagement. However, Jane Jacobs taught me to jump over these gaps and to ‘observe’ and investigate the mutual relationship between these three within our physical environment, the buildings we design and the public realm of cities. I feel honored to elaborate these lessons I learned during the closing of the Jane Jacobs centennial year at the Faculty of AB+E and indeed: ‘Jane Jacobs is still here’!”
Susanne Komossa is Associate Professor at Bouwkunde, coordinator of the research group ‘Architecture and the City: Public Building /Public Realm, Composition & Tectonics’, author of the book ‘The Dutch Urban Block and the Public Realm: Models, Rules, Ideals’
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