Celebrating The Life and Afterlife of Jane Jacobs.

“And I hear, from your voice, the invisible reasons which make cities live, through which perhaps, once dead, they will come to life again”

Italo Calvino

Jane Jacobs is perhaps one of those thinkers that has influenced , in EPIC measure, the urban sphere while stepping away from over-design and “stararchitecture”.

To join the celebration of Jane Jacob´s 100th. Birthday and today´s internet information bomb, I archived some links I came across the websphere . You can find this archive in my Storify Profile. 



Here are some of my top picks : her books and their main ideas.











Introduction of The Death and Life of Great American Cities. // I am not sure, but I believe that before Jacobs, everyone talked about “the life” of cities. She was one of the first ones to also talk about death.




Dark Age Ahead is perhaps one of my favorite books. Jacobs describes the decay of American society through what she considers  5 pillars : community and family, higher education, science and technology, taxes and government. Jane Jacobs exposes her ideas on why this decay threatens to create a “dark age” unless these trend are reversed. In this book, Jacobs characterized that dark age as a “mass amnesia” ( I find this INCREDIBLY amazing) where even the memory of what was lost is lost, lefting humanity with nothingness. Highly recommended.






Jacobs introduced the term “ethical syndrome” in this book, taken from its Greek roots, “set of elements that go together”. One of the topics I enjoy the most of this book is “appropriation of territories” and the distinction between us and other animals:trading and production. In the preface, Jacobs explains, “Because we possess these two radically different ways of dealing with our needs, we also have two radically different systems of morals and values – both systems valid and necessary.”

I couldn´t find a PDF of this amazing book-sigh- but here is a very good summary with her main thoughts. 


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“Import and Export, or die.” and “New York City is dying” were two ideas that caused tremendous critics when Jacobs published The Economy of Cities.

Here is the review of the book The Economy of Cities that was published by the New York Times in 1969, which, of course, received a rave.


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