Citizen Jane – Battle for the City

Documentary on Jane Jacobs

Novembre 26, 2018

Followed by a discussion with urbanists Paola Viganò, EPFL professor and Igor Andersen, director at Urbaplan.

Second screening by Ecrans Urbain, Fondation CUB.
In English with French subtitles.

“There is nobody against this,” insisted a flustered Robert Moses at the hearing for his plan to drive a four-lane highway through New York’s Washington Square Park in 1958. “Nobody, nobody, nobody but a bunch of … a bunch of mothers.”

The author and urban activist Jane Jacobs was one of those mothers. She fought to save the historic city of New York during the urban redevelopment era of urban planner Robert Moses. The radical proposals of the latter have led to the invention of the neologism ‘urbicide’. David’s fight against Goliath, a city seen from above or from the street, conflict of scales and visions of the world confronting each other.

Until the 1960s, the solution to the problem of cities – eradicating slums and creating space for cars – was the tabula rasa. By inviting users into the debate, Jane Jacobs transforms the destiny of modern cities. She brings a new dimension that goes beyond the technocratic authority and recognizes how the urban fabric really works in its complexity.

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”
Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities