tv Eyes on the Street CSPAN January 21, 2017 7:15pm-8:50pm EST
georgia at a book festival featuring authors james patterson, whitehead and foxbusiness news jerry willis. follow-up in march with live coverage on a tucson festival of books from the campus of the university of arizona. march 22 through the 26th is the virginia festival of the book in charlottesville virginia. an april 8, booktv and c-span2 will be covering both the annapolis book festival in maryland and the san antonio book festival in texas. for more information about the book fairs and festivals, that we will be covering a booktv and to its previous festival coverage quickly book fairs tab on our website booktv.org. [background sounds]
>> welcome to the eldridge street synagogue. my name is roberta, founder of the project to restore this historic synagogue and author of battle for gotham new york in the shadow of robert moses and jane jacobs. many of you have been here but for some this may be your first visit. i hope it will not be your last. started in the mid-1980s, the rebirth of the singular house of worship evolved slowly and steadily in the same way that jane jacobs taught us our neighborhoods and whole cities rejuvenate over time to the efforts of many individuals. 20 years, 20,000 supporters, $20 million. it is approximately what it took to restore this landmark
that was on the verge of loss. this has been the largest independent historic restoration in the city. not connected to a larger institution or public body. jane actually follow the progress of this project through the reports that i would bring her on my visits to toronto over many years. she loved that the preservation effort now formally a museum and functioning synagogue and brace it chinatown neighbors. and if you have ever been to one of our roles egg cream and empanada days, you know that it is the most original, fun and fascinating black party. author and activist extraordinaire, jane jacobs was a lifetime student of cities. an architectural writer for architectural form and an
author of seven books about cities. plus, one about the constitution which she wrote while she was taking courses at columbia. her most famous book, death and life of great american cities changed the way the world views cities and helped us understand how the cities of fabric with all of its parts. streets, parks, sidewalks, buildings, intricately connected and interdependent. to celebrate the centennial of jacob's birth this year the center for the living city organized this year-long series of lectures to revisit, explore and honor. tonight is the sixth of the series of lectures by notable writers, thinkers, and activists. to honor and build on the legacy of jane jacobs and to renew the discussion about her ideas.
two years for her death, the center for the living city was established with her enthusiastic approval. by a small group of urbanists expressly to build on her legacy. we are now in national and international with board members from boston, charlotte, new york, salt lake city, toronto, india and brazil. in the 10 years since founding, we have sent a young architect as a jane jacobs fellow to new orleans to help low income homeowners figure out how to rebuild their homes after katrina. created a post exhibit at the museum of the city of new york, helped local people all over the world lead jane jacobs walks and to observe their own communities. we published three books related to jane's work.
and have now established this lecture series. we have new innovative programs brewing. when you walk into night, you might have seen, you have given a full schedule of the series. the lectures are all free. but we depend on the generosity of supporters to help us build on james legacy. if you are inclined, please pick up envelopes or see me afterwards and make a contribution no matter what size to the center for the living city. this series is what our executive director even goldsmith falls a trip. this is not just a celebration of jane's ideas. this is an invitation to all of you to use the reflections to create responses to new problems. jane taught us how to observe, understand and value the urban life around us. now we have a responsibility to
put our own observations to fruitful use. and here we are, in this glorious 1887 landmark talking about jane jacobs. who famously said, old ideas sometimes use new buildings. new ideas, must use old buildings. tonight we are honored to have peter lawrence and robert kanigel. both authors of new books about jane. for decades there have been so many minutes about her and her ideas often perpetrated by people who were threatened by both her and her ideas. she was indeed a force of nature. in her ideas totally challenge the status quo of city planning and urban economics. others misrepresented jane's history and views to suit their own agenda. so over the years, a lot of truths and half-truths have
persisted. fortunately, both of these books in very different ways challenge all of the myths and misrepresentations and each gives us little-known details of both her personal and professional life before and after death and life. robert kanigel is a prolific author with a focus on biographies and science writings. his book the man who knew infinity, was made into a recently successful movie. his eyes on the street delves into jane's whole life. doctor peter lawrence is associate professor and graduate director at clemson college of architecture, art and humanities. and has been a longtime student of jane jacobs. he wrote a doctoral thesis about her and collaborated with the rockefeller's non-foundation in 207 in the reimagining cities conference.
he is author of becoming . both books are available for sale. our fabulous, fascinating and extremely informative. and myth breaking. i will join with both of them after the lectures for questions from the audience and a discussion. robert kanigel will go first. thank you. [applause] >> thank you roberta. and thank you for this place. i will talk right into it. can anybody hear? can everybody here? okay. this is an amazing place, i have never been here before. to come in here and see an old
thing made new in a way, and made so beautiful is in itself inspiring. the vision and energy and money and it truly is an honor to be in this space. i grass my grandfather arrived not too far from here about 1895. who knows, maybe he was here once. jane jacobs story is a story for the world. but it is also a new york story. some of her early critics complain that she was trying to impose her vision up in new york in greenwich village. and maybe from a certain standpoint that is true. it is true for americans suburban and heartland, there's something to that. it is hard to track jane's
painted analysis of 20, 30 foot wide sidewalks when most americans when they think the sidewalk are thinking of some puny little strip that two people can fit in. and it is hard also to swear her fondness for the old and for things old when america is so routinely turning to things that are new. jane was born in scranton and lived the last 38 years of her life in toronto. but i think there is something deeply new york about her.and i think we as new yorkers in a sense claim a little bit of jane just by being new yorkers. i grew up in brooklyn but and not one of the cool neighborhoods.not in brooklyn heights, way out in a neighborhood called flatland
which is between life ãand midwood.nobody was willingly going there i think. my dad would, had a shop on the second floor of a loft building in williamsburg right next to the brooklyn navy yard.very often he would come in on the weekends and drive me in over the williamsburg bridge. over delancey street, sometimes getting a knish. that is some of my earliest memories later i worked went to stuyvesant high school. and the timing was from 1959 until 1962. in any of you are a little bit more for my with jane's story know that that is almost exactly coincidence of when she was writing the death of the great west american cities. needless to say i was oblivious to that. i was a teenager.
most teenagers are oblivious in one way or another. i think during those years i was absorbing new york sensibilities. c7 abilities. jane jacobs sensibilities. in 2010 while thinking about what my next book would be, i thought of jane. i did not call her jane then. that is kind of presumptuous. but i learned of course researching the book that everything calls for change. but i was interested in doing a book about jane jacobs. i've lived in cities all my life. i lived in brooklyn and baltimore and san francisco. so even before i did my very earliest research into jane in 2010, long after peter had started doing his research on jane jacobs, i think i was halfway there to signing onto jane jacobs as my next writing project. i felt inside and affinity for
the subject for agenda did not have to explain to myself. it was self-evident. there was something in jane jacobs that felt i needed to do something with her.and i think it is this attachment for affinity that so many citydwellers, citydwellers and city lovers have worked jane jacobs that i like to talk a little bit about. i was warned, roberta warned me that not many people here will know all about jane jacobs. but some might not. and that i should not assume you are all perfectly cognizant of jane jacobs. so i will give 1/92 survey of her life. real quick. she was born in scranton, one of four children. actually five, one died when he was young. her father was a doctor, her mother had been a nurse. it was a terrifically nurturing family.
for everything i can say. the kids were thinking they could do anything. which they did. all of them were successful in conventional terms and probably nonconventional terms. she had trouble in school. her home life was terrific but in school, you know she said first and second grade teachers were terrific. then it was downhill after that. [laughter] she was always getting into trouble. she was late all the time, not all the time but often. she never graduated from college. when she got out of high school she went to a business school. the powell school of business in scranton pennsylvania. where she was, she learned shorthand and perfected her typing. and she was proud of this. don't mistake this. she was pleased with herself but she had this worker day still. she never squandered or lifted an eyebrow to the early education.
the business education.she had always wanted to be a writer though. and her first writing job, she did freelancing for vogue magazine. she read about certain sections of the city. later, she did take some courses at columbia. she never got a degree.during the war she worked as propagandist. for the office of war information. and after the war she continued in that realm. in that regime. she worked for the state department. for a magazine called america. she wrote articles about american cafeterias or american high schools. then they will be translated into russian and then go off to the soviet union. at 1952 she got the job at architectural form which is a time like magazine. you don't care about as much as time and life but it was part of the empire.soon after she went to work there, she had to
seminal experiences that i think set the stage for writing, for thinking about and then writing the death of great american cities. one was in philadelphia where they had the plantings they took her around and there was showing off what they had accomplished in philadelphia. and jane nodded and said, yes, this is beautiful. but the new sections that they were shown off to her ãbut then turned to him and said where are the people? in the old neighborhoods you're replacing, people are all over the place. there on the stoops, in the street and carrying on. here in your new neighborhoods there are no people. that was one of the first moments where jane found the questioning modernist orthodox of that period. the other important moment was
when she got involved with a man named bill kirk in east harlem who was watching the tenements go down and these big projects go up. which ordinarily that is a good thing. you know rat infected dark tenements were being knocked down.and these big brand-new projects were going up. that is a good thing. while he was saying it wasn't such a good thing. he was associating it with these new projects ãsaid she hung out with him for a while. she ãhe show her around east harlem and she listened to his conversations. she saw people that he knew in east harlem and she gradually in her description, came away seeing a kind of hidden order behind the seeming chaos of a confusing urban neighborhood.
she gave a talk at harvard in 1956 with worker to the attention of the architectural infanta community. give her the story no doubt about how she battled robert moses over the long island expressway. earlier, i think moses was directly involved with trying to make, maybe he was, i am not trying to make -- along the way, then she moved to canada. because her children, the war is going on. the vietnam war. and the choices were either they go to vietnam and they kill people or they are killed. or they go to jail or as it turned out, they moved to canada. and they spent the rest of their lives in canada and the kids are now all her children are all canadian citizens
leading canadian lives. along the way she wrote six other folks that are sometimes forgotten. but are really interesting about economics. she wrote a book called systems of survival. which is her, which she described what she called moral syndromes. where people have in different groups, have different assumptions about how they want to run their lives in the marketplace or outside. for example, police and police and military would be what she called guardians. and reinforcers would be commercial or bankers with commercial syndrome. she talked about how the world needs both of these. and she came to the conclusion rather persistently, she said ã she came away thinking i think
characteristically jane, she was opened with the world really old works and came to the conclusion of the world needs both of these people. i think i've gone beyond my 90 seconds. jane was one of the foremost intellectuals in the late 20th century. widely revered at the time of her death in 2006. it is worth saying something about this i use the world reverence. by ordinary people, planners, architects, i'll have to say that reverence is a simple fact that a lot of people hold her up at a higher level than they do other people that they might admire. she has been called the most influential thinker of all time. the urban ãthe rachel carson of the economics world. my stepdaughter give me, i don't know which data, one of
these like a political button that just has jane like this, black and white and it just says wwjjd, what would jane jacobs do? this might seem like a good thing. but it is not really. because first, the list itself becomes a planet where he sent. idaho physical files with these publicly changing file. in my book there is one example of this to try and give it. also, when you say along with the cleaning of the equivalents of that, too many times it is unthinking and uncritical and uninteresting. and on hopefully seductive i think. the sunday times book review is doing a review of my book on sunday. it is a nice review by belafonte. but one thing she says this may
be right on the money, she says, robert kanigel rightly tries to capture some of the deification around jacobs cultural standards. leaving us with a work of weary appreciation.but then she adds, that perhaps this is quite where enough. i love that. praise me but then pulling back. it is easy to pump under james itself.so many people have, i did. and i tried to bring balance to the story of jane jacobs. first, by pointing out what, i'm trying to look at what accounted to the reverence. she had a lot going against it. she was a woman in a man's world. she was not rich for leisured. she was not beautiful, she did not have an imposing voice. she had no exulting academic position here should never graduate.
she must did not graduate from high school. the year she did graduate, her mother was like whoa what was the highlight of your year to. she said getting jane through high school. i think in the end what accounted for james whole ã they basically comes down to her ideas and her work. tomorrow i will be giving a talk to another and of a groupware i will be talking about what you might call the professional problems of doing biography. and one of the questions is, what is a biographer to do when the first james books, the death and life of great american cities has had such a continuing monumental long-standing influence when the others while often praise and serious works.
and some of them winning awards did not. to give all of the books people, if you write a blog could you give all of the books people play? >> i think it would be willful and silly treat all of her books equally. the fact is the death and life of the great american cities, and it has exerted so profound an effect on people. that is out of proportion to all of the others. the book is filled with ideas. one after the other. about the way cities work. about housing density. about some people still, you think of density. rethink overcrowded slums. and jane analyze successful city neighborhoods. and found some of them the most. and the highest density. and whereas some slums were
actually almost empty. overstating it but the principal was there. she talked about the desire ability of short blocks. and it is more interesting and we want to take a walk, with reliably new streetcorner, sooner rather than later. she goes on and on analyzing all of the features of the city keeping her eyes open. looking really really hard. harder than any of us can at what and how cities work. to learn more i recommend that you go back to the death and life of great american cities itself. jane can occasionally be hard on slumming but often she is a really lively pleasure to read. chances are you will be the beneficiary on one aha moment after another.
it is difficult to say and i think it is true that you will learn more about jane jacobs from reading jane jacobs that he will from reading my book. [laughter] and i think that is true of a bob dylan or any of the people you know to listen to his music and you will begin to touch bob dylan in a way that no biography could. i think the same applies here. but, for many readers jane was almost like a conversion experience. but some, and i think my suspicion is that there is some in the audience today did not need to be born again. and jane herself recognized this. those who already knew what she was trying to say. you need to know conversion experience. hood always appreciated cities, lived in cities, enjoyed cities.
but maybe felt a little out of place because all of different work scampering off to the suburbs and talking about how great it was. and they were still in the city. in her forward to the modern library edition of death and life, jane distinguished between car people" people. this was instantly understood by foot people. they recognize what it said giant with the and enjoyment, concerns and experiences. a book she wrote collaborated with what people by giving legitimacy to what they already themselves.and i sometimes thought i have walked on foot actually, the legitimacy of vital diverse vibrant pedestrian oriented city life is the most important legacy of death and life of great american cities. i think i'll stop there.
and turn the mic over. you very much. [applause] first, thanks roberto and thanks to all of you for joining us here tonight. i am peter lawrence i am absolutely delighted to be here in this study building and the end of what has already been a remarkable day. earlier today i have a chance to speak with a group of architecture students at cooper union about jane jacobs and micellar heroes. it was an amazing opportunity in part because my grandfather
studied architecture at cooper union. about 100 years ago. and he almost certainly visited this building. which makes this a very extra special day and evening for me. in my brief talk this evening i would like to reflect on jane jacobs legacy.in part by asking hardly understand her now? but after the passage of time and now that we have some new books about her. is there a new jane jacobs now? and is there a jane jacobs yet to be discovered? and to be learned from in new ways to i am actually certain that there is. to explain why i would like to share with you some of my discoveries about her life and work. and some of my intentions in writing becoming jane just as curious discoveries and intentions which i believe offer new understanding, not just of her life and work but
her experiences and ideas and most importantly i think the development of those ideas. i've been a student of jane jacobs for the better part of 20 years. i first encountered her in the mid-90s is an architecture student at harvard graduate school of design. the place where she had made a historic speech 40 years earlier. when i was there there was no recollection of that event. in fact, the moment i decided to study her thinking, the death and life of great american cities in particular, was when i realized she had not been mentioned in my architectural history course. covering that in the great transition from modernism to support postmodernism.
this led me to write my first paper on jacobs and of course concerned with architecture and politics. this involved or evolved into my graduate thesis in 19. the first of three jacks or versions of my book. at the time my particular obsession was with jacobs face in architectural and urban history. in those years the post for postmodern. was seen and launched in 1999, excuse me 1966 with a ãby the architect robert ãtitle complexity and architecture. a book now celebrating its 50th anniversary. which is also especially concerned with cities and urbanism. in reading it i became very interested in how his central conception of complexity corresponded with jacobs understanding of it. and some things surprisingly
this shocked me in reading them side-by-side. first, though i discover that jacobs had immediately made some impact on architectural ã architecture culture in the 1960s and even at harvard despite having criticized in school by name, death and life, contemporary scholarship at the time fairly considered impact. in part i think so little was known about the sources and the development of ideas. second, in a much bigger context, as i first discussed in my thesis and later in 2006 publication, jacobs pioneering application of the science of complexity to cities and urbanism was largely missing from his but from histories of science. jacobs was one of the first
people to take complexity science out of the sciences. as a contribution that merits further observation where we increasingly hear talk about technologically driven smart cities. jacobs invited me to her home in 1999. we spoke quite a bit about architecture. and relatively new and provocative urban design approach called the new urbanism. we did not talk about the past. for her past. you see, jacobs never wanted biography. and it obstructed her longtime publisher not to cooperate with such efforts. and at the time, i was more concerned with her late 20th century legacy.
and contemporary extensions of ideas. but at some point i was so convinced about the historical significance of the death and life of great american cities, that i wanted to understand where the book and its ideas come from. i simply did not believe the myths and stereotypes. i did not believe that someone, a so-called housewife with no college degree, as she has been called ãno matter how brilliant could write one of the most important books ever written on cities. an enduring book that had so much ãwhile taking care of three children just by watching life go by on hudson street from the kitchen window. to me, it just did not add up. in a very brief autobiography, published in 1962, soon after death and life was released in
the fall of 61 ãjacobs mentioned freelance writing, two years at columbia university and something of an early writing career. she mentioned working for the office of war information and on a magazine published by the state department called america illustrated. and then at a magazine called architectural forum. when she wrote about hospitals and schools. at some point, she wrote the widely read 1958 essay title downtown is for people. which gained the rockefeller foundation's attention and grants leading to the book. although this account did more or less and up, and was accepted for 40 years as enough to explain where death and life that come from, it seemed to me that there must be more to the story. i mean how often does a major foundation giving major grant to people on the basis of one
single magazine article? what were her sources to any close reading of death and mike showed to be that much more than hudson street. how did she said no so much? and what happened in the process of writing it wait jacobs said she initially wanted to write a number of magazine articles. and she said first became a total of 22. what experiences and knowledge were needed in order to make up another book chapters? and what about such experiences not mentioned in her short account of giving lectures at places like harvard and the university of pennsylvania. by 2006, i was able to offer a better explanation of jacobs experiences for writing death and life. by that time i decided to go back to school, continue research started in my thesis
and doctoral dissertation. now had training as an historian and a much deeper knowledge of history. and i spent a lot of time in the rockefeller foundation archives. the archives of jacobs boss douglas haskell in architectural form.the new york city housing archives, the new york historical society archives among others. what i discovered absolutely amazed me. as i explained in the long article published a few weeks after her desk, jacobs grant threat death and life of great american cities had been part of a much larger academic initiative to develop new knowledge about cities. this foundation research initiative, not only put her in contact with the most notable architect city planners and urban ãapartheid, the research program itself had no less ambition and to help create the new field of urban design. this may jacobs a pioneer of a
whole new field of study. indeed, a remarkable accomplishment for someone without a college degree. i discover not only that the rockefeller salvation regarded jacobs as the next lewis mumford, i can't understand why. i discovered dickens had not had a minor role at architectural form hurt although it did not yet understand how someone can be hired in a senior editorial position based on what she had said as her prior career. i discover that she had done a lot of writing for the magazine and it covered the redevelopment and renewal in many cities. not only was her intellectual geography much broader than greenwich village, even new york. the depth of her experience with the subject is much greater. in reading this previously unknown body of work, i came to
realize two things. one, when people said jacobs had done little writing before death and life, they were flat wrong. although much of her prior writing had been published without a byline, i learned that she had made a name for herself as one of the best writers on cities in the country even before downtown is for people in 1958. two, i learned that not only jacobs ideas about redevelopment evolved over time, she had been directly influenced about city positively and negatively by a long list of notable people with whom her contact was previously unknown. i learned that jacobs had was idealized the city planning and had supported urban renewal. and i could thereby trace the evolution of her thinking before and through the writing of her great book. another series of discoveries allowed me to understand how
jacobs came to be hired into that senior editorial role and a major magazine. in jacobs federal employment records, and fbi files which documented an extensive multiyear investigation of her during the mccarthy era, which i first read about in the book considering jane jacobs, i learned that she had been developing her writing career in a serious way all through the 1940s. i found articles that she had written for the magazine the iron age and other magazine articles. -- not only rose to the level of editor-in-chief of america illustrated, she had written about architecture, cities and urban redevelopment for that magazine already before architectural forum. in fact i found in 1950, she wrote what seems to be one of
the most comprehensive articles of the time about the history of the us housing and urban redevelopment published anywhere.what i discovered was an unknown jane jacobs. a jane jacobs who first book was called constitutional ã published in 1941. a jacobs whose career had developed over many years before death and life. and jacobs who was in contact with the most notable figures in architecture, urbanism and academia of her time. who influenced in a number of important cases supported her work. jacobs whose ideas about cities evolved over time even while writing death and life. a jacobs who directly contributed to the developing field of urban design and architectural criticism. a jacobs his writing and activism group together. and a jane jacobs whose conscious ambitions and qualifications for her work
were much greater then we have given her credit for. i have sought in other words not only to explain where the death and life of great american came from and to provide a foundation for understanding the book that followed, but to try to understand and explain how jane jacobs became jane jacobs. as the synthesis of many years of work and becoming jane jacobs, i presumed a very high level of intelligence for my subject. and also my readers. i sought to dispel a list of stereotypes and myths. some based on sexism and other prejudices. some emerging out of worship. and some stemming from ideological ãi sought to show what was contextual and original in her thinking. i placed jacob's story in the
context of the story of american cities. to show how her thinking related to larger changes in thinking over the course of the 20th century. and by sharing that even jacobs could have been swayed by ideas i suggest that we can become more like jacobs by being rigorously critical of our own beliefs and biases. in conclusion, i must say that neither becoming jane jacobs nor eyes on the street will be the last books written about her. there are other books that need to be written. there needs to be a book written about her economic thinking. and probably by someone with a deep knowledge of economics. there needs to be a book about the moral and political philosophy that she discussed in systems of survival. and by someone with deep
before i take questions, i want to add, people ask me, what would jane think? she would be furious at the question, because if you ask jane, what do you think about something? she would say, what do you think? she really wanted people to think for themselves and >> at -- smart as she as long as you observe. number two, all know that the reason she never great graduated from columbia because she courses that interested her. everything from physics and chemistry and constitutional
history, and so many credits she was called into the office and said, listen, you have taken all this courses, you have to ma trick you late. then she said i have to take all the courses you want me to take and that doesn't interest me. so she left and never got a degrees' was the most educated person i ever met who, with or without a college degree. i also find it so interesting -- particularly true in the "new york times --" everybody is looking for a way to be wary of jane jacobs, and i'm waiting for the role gutsy, substantive criticism. i mean, there's this whole thing, blame jane for generality-ification, and
wanting everything to be like greenwich village, which is ridiculous. jean is in the spells of an ed frazer -- ed glazer who things without preservation we would have more affordable housing. if anyone has that, i'm waiting to hear it. we have two terrific people who understand jane in really deep ray -- deep ways so we ready for question. who has questions. wait for the mic. >> so what do you think jane jacobs would say about the current overdevelopment of new york city?
>> you want to start with the question? okay. well, let me begin by saying this. when she was writing, the trend was to have been the city and quite a bit of the background of the book, which is definitely -- difficult to remember and reconcile what today's experience, is that it was a time when the white middle class was departing cities for the suburbs. today, of course, we have the opposite phenomenon. whether or not -- what should we describe as overdevelopment, i think that was your term -- i'd
like to say that over -- depends wonat you mean by overdevelopment. if it means the growth of the city, the vie bran -- vie bran si of the she she would not have any importance. in her book there is self-destruction of diversity, and she would say if overdevelopment means success in that way, then it is a problem. >> i think one of the things she said about general the-ification also is d gentrification also, is that the high prices and the
surge of people to these high-rent districts, means that places like this are in demand and, therefore, we need more such places that might potentially become attractive to people who love cities. unfortunately, she addes -- i don't remember exactly when -- unfortunately, she added, so much of the development since the war has been automobile oriented, and so most of the development is not even potentially -- does not lend itself to the kind of change jacobs liked in neighborhoods she favors. >> i think also it's fair to say, one of the critiques of jane is that she didn't like tall buildings, which is ridiculous. tall biddings have their place in their place. think she would be appalled at
today because of the global economy. this is not about tall buildings. this is about a lot of 90 story bank security boxes that are empty and places to park money. and she couldn't have anticipated that. but she also felt she used to talk about ways that if the city really cared, there were ways that the city could deal with these issues, and we don't see any inclination in the public will to do it. if we did we would start with a moratorium on 90-story buildings. who is next? >> i just want to ask peter, what is your explanation for why jane jacobs was dropped from the entire curriculum that you were studying at harvard? and maybe you -- i've forgotten what happened when she came to
talk at harvard, the dramatic moment. >> let me repeat the question. it might not have registered and it's an interesting question. why was jane dropped from the curriculum as harvard. >> you also asked about the '56 conference. 'll start there with that story. it actually begins in around 1955. in 1955 architectural formal was planning a big u-of the magazine, looking at the american city forward, 20 years, and they called it their big city planning issue. so they were gearing up for this in 1955.
and one thing that was happening at the same time was that the william kirk was trying to spread the message of what was going on up in east harlem and was contacting newspapers, "the new york times" ran a couple of stories, and he was reaching out to magazines and asking them to come up there. eventually the end of '55, early '56, jacobs made her first trips to east harlem, in part pause it could contribute to this big feature article about planning and future cities, and that's when she made the trips to harlem and discovered -- saw what she saw there. and east harlem was a very important place. the highest concentration of housing projects anywhere in at the u.s. and probably anywhere in world.
so, a few months later, douglas haskell, honor boss, the editor of, architectural forum and was selected to talk at this '56 conference at harvard, known as he shard planning conference. now known as the first urban design conference. but haskell couldn't go and asked jane to go. the other part of the back story is that haskell already considered her, and said as much to her -- the host at harvard, that she was the best person covering urban renewal and urban redevelopment at the magazine. so she was already understood to be the most knowledgeable about this. so, that's part of the reason she went. wasn't just kind of
coincidental, like who is free, we'll just ask jane. so, at the harvard conference she told the story of east harlem, and what is interesting in the way that she interpreted the story was that she already understood it to be a much bigger phenomenon than specific east harlem. so there's ways in looking closely at her writing, one can already see her mind sorts of generalizing a situation and injured understanding this in a bigger way. so the talk she gave there was a huge success. when i was there, the archives were downstairs, and i found, for example, in an alumni newsletter that the was one of the highlights of the conference, which, again, was an invited conference, very select group of people, that was the
inauguration of a new degree program, the first degree program in urban see sign in country -- design in the country. so a big moment. lewis mumford, the best known writers on the city, was there, and other people sunning her praises. that was in '56 so fast forward to when i was there -- i don't think she was dropped from the curriculum. let's strike that from the record. as a kind of enterprise. i think partly what was going on in history of that time was that it was a -- i think architectural history, kind of all history, was less inclusive than it is nowed terms of considerations beyond disciplines and sort of
underrepresented minority voices of all different kinds. so, it was a time to kind of re- -- well in at the intervening years we have reconsidered there are list of other owned don't want to go on. think partly was generational in terms of the people teaching architectural history, people who were my teachersing they were as i describe them the generation of '68. so their experiences was not so much within the memory of the 1950s which had a reputation for being a very dull period of kind of core suburban mental itity, which is it was not at all. the social revolution '68 were built on what happened, especially in the late '50s, but as i say, historians that --
my teachers issue don't think their perspective was so much -- there are they were much more concern with the '60s. >> i want to add a little personal note. i was a reporter at the old "new york post." i say old because you know what that means, premurdoch. he came, i left. i was writing about the city in late '60s and early '70s and at one point in early '70s when things were pretty bad in the city, 12 of user us recorder are were sent to our neighborses in which we grew up to write about urethane itch was born and raised in greenwich village. wrote about greenwich village. did not write about jane jacobs. i was unaware of jane jacobs. she was not at that time front
and center. i had a vague reference to some urban renewal fight in the west village and even she did not -- she was one of the few people who was not surprised and actually -- more than surprised but she was totally left out of bob careow's power broker. she loved that look. she and her husband ren salve and they were read it to each other. she was not front and center in a particular and she was female. and both of these guys do a great job of exploding this myth
of the untrained house wife. give me a break. so, don't look for nefarious thing. just not necessarily appropriate or thought to be at that time. >> thank you very much, all of you for this is the enlightening talk. just for the record, urban planning graduate programs do start with jane jacobs. >> today. >> in 1984 when i took my masters and graduate school, and i teach it at -- every semesters so urban study students get it. the other element i wanted to ask is was she aware of her audience? talk about her audience. it seemed to me that the early part've the baby-boom generation, one of them -- two
of them are up there -- and we're looking at the '50s way of doing planning and saying, -- it was like reading jane jacobs was, like, a permission to do something different to do it a different way. followed by doctor oz and other new york city focused theorists. so talk about her audience she thought she was writing for. >> it's possible i am misunderstanding what you moon by audience. my notion of audience is that she was a highly skilled writer. whatever else she was, she was a writer. she always wanted to be a writer, and the work she did as propagandaist, the work she did for, architectural forum was to
imagine what a reader was thing, cannot to impose your ideas but ask your what would the be effect of these ideas and word on my reader. as a write sher was supremely aware of herred aens with every step she took and every word she wrote. chills not -- which is not to say she always succeeded. i think sometimes she did get caught up in her own ideas to such an extent that she would momentarily forget her readers, but most of the time she was very much aware of her readers. >> it's a great question. i think there's -- i think hind the question is this, let's say,
discrepancy between the self-conscious ambition she had for death and life, and the way that she don't really see that when we read the book. so, let me explain that and let me say another thing about the emerrens of death and life as a -- emergence of death and life as a project. so, as mentioned earlier, this article published in for tune magazine was diverted from architectural forum to a sister magazine. when that got the rockefeller foundation's attention it began a series of conversations that jacobs had with this particular program director at the foundation, chad fitzpatrick.
in the summer of 1958 when he asked her what needs to be done on behalf of cities cities and gill.patrick was the leader behind this ongoing initiative begun in early '50s and looking for people to pull into this research program. and so when he met her, said what do you can think we need to do? she said we need to develop more critics, more people writing about the city. that was exactly what in the foundation wanted. they had a series of different types of projects. one was really pure research on the city project, headed by kevin lynch. his is really a pure research project. theyed they had a history projet going they needed a new louis
mumford and he was seen to be antiurban, not a big fan of the city. so they needed someone that was as good as him to right for -- as he did, but to write more favorably, but to say not just the -- promote the antiurban message. they found him in jane jacob, and two things spun out of their conversations. the first one was a conference, an academic conference in 1958 that this was a penn conference and that conference was called the conference on urban design criticism. and what that conference was specifically and explicitly about was expanding the -- both in the -- both the number of writers and the audience about
american cities and their future and their scent -- their scent so on. and the death of the american city was exactly that. a book that would be generalized. that was all a little bit the sort of external to jane jacobs at some level. but as she developed the book, she was very conscious about the audience in terms of writing to both a professional audience and a general audience. this was a --en explicit agenda. because she -- when you read death life it does not have the jargon of the day. architectural jargon but she knew that jargon and could write that jar gone. she -- jargon. it is not dated because she used
the -- kind of normal language. so when she talks about use of the sidewalks, the use of streets and neighborhoods, she what she has in mind is an, an architectural debate about functionalism but putting in in everyday language. so, there's -- >> are you saying that she translated ideas that she was formulating in architectural historical terms into language that ordinary readers would understand, that it was a sort of conscious act of translation? >> well, they weren't exactly -- yes, but except they weren't historical terms. this was just the terminology in the field. modern architectural was shely associated with fungal -- closely associated with
functionalism but in the mod modern person it had become a school. so internally architects were in crisis about the state of things. in her critiques of modern architectural read as anti-mopped concernists or antimodern they're not that so much as they're -- could sea maybe that not that, period. they're critique of modern architecture not living up to the functionalist promise, or process. she made a neofunctionallist critique of modern architecture. she wanted it to be functional. the last thing about this point about sort of background in terms 0 architectural culture and the context, her context as an architectural critic and
journalist, which is her milieu is that the summary description of that book project is called "a study of the relation of function to design in large cities." so, in other words, the agenda for "death and life" was a study of function, which again is a trend -- takes this idea of architectural functionalism, which kind of gave up also importantly -- was related to this functionally segregated city, which also included a -- not just a functionally segregateed city of work here, live there, recreation here, separate the traffic, separate pedestrians from cars, but was in jacob's mind also social segregation, racial and ethnic
send segregation and economic segregation as well. >> those who have read the book and those who have not and will in the first page of "death and life" she says there nor pictures in the book. the illustrations are all around you. you must look, observe, and while you're there, stop and listen. she basically -- i don't think she was purposely using or not using the language. she was trying write for people who she trusted. she always emphasized local wisdom at a time when it was pretty high highfalutin language and it was an insider's view and he was saying, you know, that's not the way we should be thinking about it.
you know what she says or what you see. trust your instinct. so, i don't thing she was purposely rejecting the language but she was purposely trying to give people a way to view the city for themselves. and i think that's really what makes her book so amazing, and by the way you should also know a documentary called "citizen jane" is going to premiere on november 10th that will probably be on television and in theaters, but the foreign rights have already been sold all over the world. you saw the posters as somehow came in of the stacks of books. all translations. so what is so interesting is that she was writing and speaking in a language that ordinary people could relate to, and if you have ever tried to
have a real ordinary conversation with an architect or professional planner, you know the frustration. maybe you -- you might be different but another question. >> hitting on sort of the same thing, which is partly the reason -- perhaps partly the reason for the lack of recognition of women professionals is something she would take pride in. that is to say, she -- as a writer and as a human being she believed in observing and building it up from details. even when you already have the conclusion as a writer you still build it up from details for your audience and there's an academic tendency to value the theory and think about the dethey'lls as anecdotal. fem him in. she would take put a in that --
take pride in that, building from details as a writer and observer. so she might take a pride in certain academics, anyway, saying, oh, this is not real theory. this is is nothing. she might take pride in it just in all of us saying, oh, my god, she is showing us our city. it's wonderful. she gave us a chance to see it in some terms that make our everyday walk have theory attached. >> i have an important question. >> do either of you want to answer? >> just to your point about the organization of the argument in "death and life of good american cities" there's an amazing report of her discussion about the writing of the book, and she had a great line that she wrote
to gill'patrick she said, i can't just throw these ideas at the reader like a basket of leaves. she was extraordinarily conscientious about the way in the argument would be build up incrementally, just as you suggest. >> may i? living in the downtown brooklyn, where we're witnessing the onslaught of current planning contests, my question is to put it in a nutshell, where are the schools that are teaching and urging implementation of jane jacobs' most brilliant ideas. uneck insights and powerful philosophy? where is that coming out in the -- in what we see being built in our urban city. >> i just want you to know the
last thing that jane ever did publicly was to critique the greenpoint, williamsburg city plans and if grew back and read it you will see that she was a big credit county of what the city -- critic of that the city approved and trying to point out, trust the local, and there were local plans that would not have produced what came. so, you can't see any application of her ideas in anything that is going on these days. >> this reliance or turning to local citizens, which works so well in the west village, i wonder whether it always worked to well? i think sometimes local people don't have the body of expertise that you would hope them to have, and i remember -- i interviewed one person who
worked with jane in the west village, and he said something like, even most mundane suspect aspect of putting up the fight for the west village is the press releases and announcements and the presentations before city boards were all done so professionally, and they all had the stamp of jane jacobs, and i wonder, you're saying dish would like to think also that we have trust in the local and dis disdisdane nor experts because they so often get things wrong and so often don't listen to the local people of any stripe, but sometimes maybe you can go too far the other way. >> for me those are fighting words.
first of all, she wasn't saying, let the locals dictate. she was saying it that emulous listen to the locals first and put them at the table first and don't ignore them first. and over the years -- i've written five books on this subject and have found all over the world that everything she says about trust the local is really true, and i write what i write is that successes from the bottom up and failure is from the top downful right through my last back book about the -- the last back boot the recovery of new orleans, and the turning inward of low-income housing plan and that east harlem came up with their own affordable housing plan. it's happening now and it's ignored now as much as it ever was, and as i included her full
critique of the green point williamsburg plan in the battle for gotham book, and she wasn't saying there one a role for a planner or the city but that, look at what the locals have proposed, and she showed the value of offering they proposed. but it's not -- it wasn't first for most about real estate and it's only gotting worse and you can't help but see their wisdom is being ignored. not that it should be dictate, the final word, but shouldn't be ignored and should be considered in beginning. that's the big difference than saying, well, you know, locals aren't -- don't always have have the expertise. that is the point. their expertise is about where they live and the planner in city hall doesn't have that
expertise, so he should listen -- usuallily a hi -- listen to what they're saying and then develop a proposal together. >> i think your question had a kind of educational dimension. you used the word "schools." well, i can-i thought it was an issue of training, where this training to people understanding heir ideas. would say i think the field of city planning today -- i gave a talk maybe three or four weeks ago at an american regional planning association conference, actually with one of jane's nieces and it was exciting and kind of fun to talk about her at planning conference where 50 years ago wouldn't have gone and wouldn't have been welcome.
but what i saw as a very diverse field in many ways, at least in terms of gender, which is a big change fortunately. and i think a field that has incorporated her ideas. but i do have two thoughts about education that i think are really -- remain pretty critical. one of them has to do with this history of urban design. so, one of the kind of historical subspecializations i developed was the history of the field of urban see sign and that's relates to the '56 harvard conference which formulated the new field of study. the way urban design was conceived of was an advanced degree. so, in other words, you had first be train as an,, a, a articulate or landscape designer
and then you would go on to get this advanced degree in urban design, and that's always steam me as the wrong way around. , that the understanding, even then in formulating this degree program was that it was shared discipline, discipline've to specializations would come together and that's a good idea such as it is but the fact is that very few architects or landscape architects or city planners get the specialized degree. so the pyramid is upside-down and has been since urban design was create as an academic discipline. everyone is trained as an urban designedder and then you decide to specialize as an architect, a landscape architect or city planner. that's not the way the pyramid is set. two, if you look at the accrediting standards for architects, even today, the standards of what architectural
students need to know about urban design is very little. it could be built into the curriculum, is not very row boast and it should be. >> when it comes to the experts, when it come -- i went on a jane jacobs walk with an economist, a big fan of jane, and i specially asked him what has been put forward since her economics books and he couldn't come up with something and pointed me to glazer's book which is not the right way to good. so, when it comes to distrust of the experts, and economists and the way they're so ingrained in their own thought, peter, you said an economics book needs to be written by an economist. really need to be written by an economist or could be written by somebody else better in a jane sort of way?
>> i'm surprised -- i'm also surprised surprised that sandy, on the board of the center who teaches a course about jane's economics, he should have had some answers to that. >> well, it was quoting -- referring to something i said, too. go ahead. >> i would like to think that it is possible that a gifted writer who immersed himself in the economics of -- pardon? -- or himself -- thank you -- a gifted writer who immersed himself or herself in economic thinks could write a book for ordinary readers that would be as full and as deep and as rich and as interesting as an economist's who is trained in that field. that's my prejudice as a writer.
>> i know when i was talking about other book that needs to be written by someone with a deep month of philosophy and political science, would say the same thing. maybe not by an economist per se but someone with deep knowledge of the field. that's really needed to understand her work and as much as one -- in order to understand how "death and life" came to be written, an understand offering, architectural and urban history and the culture she is in. so in a similar way one needs to understand economics and the field of economics and its ideas very thoroughly in order to separate originality from -- original ideas.
so, i think it's not -- i do -- i think to the opinion of your question -- the point of your question dirk talked with my students about that's lot -- is that she made such a big impact on a number of fields coming from as an outsider and that's often the case for paradigm shifts, and look at thomas kuhn's ideas about the paradigm shift and plays out very well what happens, what her thinking is in the period. outsiders are it utterly important. >> the best book on jane's economic is jane's book on economics. called "the economy of city" and card that her most important book and considered her economic writing her most important work. the second book "cities and the wealth of nation" is also credit
cat ball out through her -- critical but all through her books is her own economy. it's worth focusing more conversation on it because its applications to today are really quite interesting and there's a conference coming up in november in charlottesville, instructly on her economics. so, i think there will be a more focus on her economics and some of the most important economists of the day have acknowledged the importance of her economic writing. because it's still relevant today. one more question. >> thank you very hutch and having the privilege of asking the last question, i'd like to say thank you for a very interesting evening. you menned before the buzz word of smart cities and i think this is one of the most, strongest trends of urbanism
right now and in discussion. think you'll see a lot of similarities between big tech in smart cities is thinking about cities and urbanisms the way modernist planners thought about urbanism. they think if they bring the slogses from this top down they can create an ideal city or solve many of the issues. and this trend is coming. it's already a reality in many places. a lot of our tax money invested the it, big companies invest need it. my question device you think we can learn from jane's criticism on modernist planning do not be applied to maybe reshaping the idea of a smart city, keeping in mind that maybe tech can support urbanism, can support good urbanism, even how can we apply or can with apply some 0 our criticism on modernism to the smart city concept. >> you want to answer?
>> i'll begin by making reference to her ideas of complexity science, which is related. so, one of the things -- really one of the first serious studies and topic is dealt into was this issue of complexity science, and i wrote much more about it in an early article than my book. what i dime see over the intervening years is that i think that -- well texas relative -- i think fair to say lack of the promise about what might have happened in a half century between -- complexity
science and today is rather minimal. i think in the end complexity science helped to prove to jacobs that cities are more complex than can be predicted. there are two come -- they're too.complex to be predicted. if we can't predict the weather with our knowledge of complexity science and because of sources like the but but -- butterfly effect, then predicting the outcome of certain parameters or projects for cities would be equally difficult to predict. think what we're after is predictable, the idea that we are understand something and that means we're able to predict
certain youngs, and i don't -- youngs outcomes. threat no too likely but the premise in solve he smart city's thinking, and i know there's dish don't want to make a singular blanket state bottom what things we might be able to learn from it, but i think part of your question answers itself in terms of if it's top-down and data driven, who is date tase itself whacker debt they want to predict what outcomes are desired, then it's a really -- could be really problematic thing for the future of cities
to be too invested in some technological hoped for savior in smart cities technology. >> just briefly, i think there's been a big shift in our cultural relationship expertise in general. i think the time that jane was doing her back yes world war ii and army generals has defeated the germans and japanese and i think as a culture we trusted in expertise of the experts. the experts know so we might as well listen to tell because -- listen to them because they know more than we do. i think jane -- couldn't be true bit seems that way -- the first to say nonsense. the experts are just as often wrong is a anybody else. then the vietnam war came along
and we started hearing about body counts and started hearing about the expertise of the military. all bogus. and i think in the years since we've development a healthy disinclination to accept as gospel she so-called expertise of any experts, and if the smart city people are saying, this particular technology will be the solution to our problems, i think jane and all of us should be highly skeptical. >> just want to add jane was a reskeptic of predictability and her great criticisms of urban planner because they were often planning based on what was happening today would happen in a kind of continuum, which was immediately wrong the first day after the plan was published. she also -- years ago, she said
something really fun fun iny to. this was even pre-internet but computer period. she said, you know, all these people think because of the new technology that cities are irrelevant. she said then why are the great plains still empty? people need cities. it's about people. and i had observed, the first thing that happened after the computer came out, was the internet, was the internet cafe. people need to be with people. the technology comes and goes. but it's still cities are people-based and that's where jane always came back to, and a lot of things she would say, well, it's great, it's useful, but it's a fad. it's still the basic elements are still the same.