Genius of Common Sense: Jane Jacobs and the Story of The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Glenna Lang and Marjory Wunsch.
David R. Godine: Boston, 2009.

This is the biography of a woman who was rocking the boat her whole life. She is primarily known for saving city areas from demolition in the U.S. and Canada. Also known for changing the way developers look at those city areas. Living in a city herself and biking around her own city, she noticed the wonderful details that make up the life and character of the city. With urban renewal in the 1950s and 1960s, large development projects were planned which would destroy much of the character of the neighborhoods, leaving many families and businesses no choice but to move out of the city.

Jane Jacobs wrote a book about the life that was being demolished, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, pointing out what was being lost to urban renewal. She also helped to organize several protests by communities who were labeling "slums" in order to cheaply proceed with the building projects and hopefully avoid question. The citizen protests were successful as they proved the areas were not slums, and the communities continued to thrive.

I love this book. I didn't already know about Jane Jacobs. I now want to read her books. Though unknown to me before, I suspect her legacy was passed down to me through my college Art and Architecture class. It seems so obvious to me about glorying in the history and diversity of the old neighborhoods. The messages are loud and clear about the underdog winning against uncaring planners and the fame and money they expected to receive and the citizens getting their way because their way of life was at stake. Also, Jane Jacobs had no credentials that City Hall had to respect. She had determination and knowledge that made sense, so citizens can prevail now also, if they try.
related-women, city planners, life in the city, diversity, city development, urban renewal, United States, New York City, 20th century, sociology
RL=5th-adult, mature 5th

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