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56 pages 1 hour read

Jane Jacobs

The Death and Life of Great American Cities

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 1961

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Key Figures

Jane Jacobs

Jane Jacobs (1916-2006) is an American-Canadian activist, journalist, and author whose area of expertise is urban history, theory, and practice. Born in Scranton Pennsylvania, Jacobs moved to Greenwich Village in New York City in 1935, during the Great Depression. She studied at Columbia University’s School of General Studies for two years before launching her journalism career. Following stints at Iron Age and Amerika, she took a job at Architectural Forum in 1952 and began covering topics related to urban planning and urban blight. In 1958, she received a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to produce a critical study of city planning and urban life in the United States. Her three years of research culminated with the publication of The Death and Life of Great American Cities in 1961. In addition to publishing, Jacobs is known for her community activism, notably, her opposition to the planned Lower Manhattan Expressway, which would have destroyed Greenwich Village’s Washington Square Park. 

Catherine Bauer Wurster

Catherine Bauer Wurster (1905-1964) is an American public housing advocate, educator, and author. As a member of “housers,” a group of urban planners who promoted affordable housing for low income families, Bauer Wurster dramatically altered social housing practice and law in the United States.

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