Jane Jacobs

In 1961, Jane Jacobs released The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Jane Jacobs had already made a name for herself as a community activist in the West Village.

At one point, the Washington Square Park Arch had cars running around – and through – it. Jacobs was involved with others in ending this. (See photo: Arch from 1955. Note cars.)

In her groundbreaking book on how we view planning of cities, she writes of NYC’s recurring plans to play around with Washington Square Park: “The city officials regularly concoct improvement schemes by which this center within the park would be sown to grass and flowers and surrounded by a fence. The invariable phrase to describe this is, ‘restoring the land to park use.’ That is a different form of park use, legitimate in places. But for neighborhood parks, the finest centers are stage settings for people.”

Forty seven years later, the city is bent on destroying Jacobs’ vision of what makes a successful public park.

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1 Comment

  1. Well written article that brings home to me the travesty of this unwanted mega waste of money the supposed improvements to Washington Square Park are with a fence to keep out the people that love the park. Under the Bloomberg administration the entire city has become a generic shopping mall with mirrored sky piercing buildings all in the name of progress but it is really a “not welcome” sign to the people that made this city so desirable to developers that would make it over and take it over and rob the city of it’s soul, characters and characters.

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