Jane Jacobs 100: Her legacy and relevance in the 21st Century


 In May 2016, TU Delft in partnership with Erasmus University promoted the Conference

“Jane Jacobs 100: A celebration of the life and legacy of Jane Jacobs and a look forward”

In May 2016, we celebrated the 100th birthday of one of the most important urban thinkers of our time, someone who has influenced generations of designers and planners and others concerned with the built environment: the great Jane Jacobs.

Jacobs’ theories and ideas are central to many different academic fields: urban design, planning, architecture, sociology, human geography, environmental psychology, economic geography and many more. Her writings have been influential for more than five decades. This alone tells us of her importance for urban studies and for understanding the complex relationship between urban space and society. In the 21st Century, Jacobs has been criticized and some of her ideas have been reviewed. However,  she remains one of the most important urban thinkers today.

The chair of Spatial Planning and Strategy of the Delft University of Technology, together with the OTB Research Institute for the Built Environment and the Rotterdam Erasmus University College organised a two-day conference on Jane Jacob’s legacy at TU Delft on 24-25 May 2016.

The conference aimed to discuss Jacobs’ legacy and to take her ideas forward in the context of contemporary urbanisation trends. The intensity and scale of current urbanization is unprecedented and new challenges have emerged since Jacobs published her texts. How are the ideas of Jane Jacobs still relevant to understand the interplay between urban space and society? Or do we need new theories? To what extent have Jacobs’ ideas inspired today’s urban leaders and thinkers? How are they tackling urban issues such as growing inequality, spatial fragmentation, street life, safety in the public space and environmental decline?

We discussed Jacobs’ ideas critically and to take stock of how those ideas have been used, misused and hopefully updated.

We invited abstract submissions for six different tracks, tackling essencial aspects of Jacobs’ ideas:

Track 1: Jane Jacobs, ethics, and the just city

Track 2: Jane Jacobs and Street Spaces – Streets as public places

Track 3: Jane Jacobs and the dynamics of neighbourhoods

Track 4: Jane Jacobs and the Reshaping old urban fabrics in Chinese cities

Track 5: Jane Jacobs and organised complexity

Track 6: Jane Jacobs and safety in public space


For more information, please write to Roberto Rocco at r.c.rocco@tudelft.nl mentioning the title “Jane Jacobs 100” in the subject field.




To see pictures of the conference, please click HERE.

Sponsored by:
EMU-Medallion The European Postgraduate Master of Urbanism (EMU)

The European Postgraduate Masters in Urbanism (EMU) is a joint program that aims to produce highly qualified, university trained urban designers, physical planners and researchers. The EMU program brings together the strenghts and richness of different design approaches and methods, and the long traditions and experiences in urban planning and design of each of the participating universities.



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