Beautiful New York

A Celebration of the City

The Top 100 Greatest New Yorkers — #20

Jane Jacobs (1916 – 2006)


Longtime Greenwich Village urban activist Jane Jacobs loved and believed in city life. To her, the logic of a city was based on a local economy, public transit, a sense of community, high density, short blocks, and that quintessentially metropolitan staple, the mixed-use building. In her landmark book The Death and Life of Great American Cities, she argues against urban development and in favor of social capital. She is also the subject of Anthony Flint’s Wrestling With Moses — How Jane Jacobs Took On New York’s Master Builder and Transformed the American City, which details her fight against the proposed Lower Manhattan Expressway. Her philosophy that “Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody,” remains as true today as it ever was.


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