On 24 and 25 May 2016, we celebrated the 100th birthday of one of the most important urban thinkers of our time, someone who has influenced generations of designers and planners and others concerned with the built environment: the great Jane Jacobs.

The two-day conference gathered scholars, practitioners and the general public who could enjoy three lectures from Jane Jacobs specialists. There were 65 abstracts submitted, and 41 were presented in 6 different tracks (see below). Approximately 150 people attended the conference.

This conference was an initiative of the chair of Spatial Planning and Strategy of the Delft University of Technology, together with the OTB Research Institute for the Built Environment and the Rotterdam Erasmus University College.

The conference aimed to discuss Jacobs’ legacy and to take her ideas forward in the context of contemporary urbanization trends. The intensity and scale of current urbanization is unprecedented and new challenges have emerged since Jacobs published her texts. How are the ideas of Jane Jacobs still relevant to understand the interplay between urban space and society? Or do we need new theories? To what extent have Jacobs’ ideas inspired today’s urban leaders and thinkers? How are they tackling urban issues such as growing inequality, spatial fragmentation, street life, safety in the public space and environmental decline?

The 6 tracks in the conference were:

Track 1: Jane Jacobs, ethics, and the just city (led by dr. Thomas Hartmann, University of Utrecht, dr. Claudia Basta, Wageningen University and dr. Roberto Rocco (TU Delft)

Track 2: Jane Jacobs and Street Spaces – Streets as public places (led by dr. Agustina Martire, Queen’s University Belfast)

Track 3: Jane Jacobs and the dynamics of neighbourhoods (led by Andre Ouwehand, OTB/TU Delft and dr. Brian Doucet, Erasmus University College)

Track 4: Jane Jacobs and the Reshaping old urban fabrics in Chinese cities (led by dr. Qu Lei, TU Delft)

Track 5: Jane Jacobs and organised complexity (led by dr. Stephen Read, TU Deft, and Xiaofan Deng, ROAM Rotterdam)

Track 6: Jane Jacobs and safety in public space (led by Muhammed Ziya Paköz, Abdullah Gül University, Turkey and Ahmet BAŞ, Istanbul Technical University).

Special STIPO Workshop

This workshop was led by Hans Karssenberg, helped by Sienna Veelders and Ijsbrand  Hearing. In the words of Hans Karssenberg:

HANS-ROUND“We had a diverse, enthusiastic, international, creative and very much involved group. The concept of place, and the method of observing, analyzing and generating ideas in a mixed group; for many of the participants it was a huge eye-opener. Some of the comments were that they have known the place for a long time, or thought they did at least, but through this method got a much deeper understanding of the same place. The [TU Delft] campus Mekelpark has improved a lot with the new design; however, it is still more a space than a place – it needs a placemaking strategy, involving the different communities, creating quick wins on the short term but having a long term perspective and place management organisation at the same time. We defined the most important spaces with potential for becoming a place and developed the first ideas for it; the map we gave you [the organisers] at the end is the summary of this. Each dot on the map is a cry for help – the reds are the bad places, the greens the good ones, the yellow are the places with the first potential to start making changes. There is water but you can never reach it – these are examples of spaces with the potential to be turned into places. It would be really good if the TU could work with the results and repeat the placegame with more local stakeholders; and start a strategy for more years for placemaking. We’d be happy to shares ideas about that with the TU.”

According to Ijsbrand Heeringa, Master student at Urbanism and doing a stage at STIPO:

Download the presentation given by STIPO HERE!

“The place making game conducted during the Jane Jacobs 100 was a inspiring event. The great variety of participant created an interesting mix of thoughts and ideas, and the Mekelpark was a fascinating subject. During the workshop it became clear that, though the park works on a larger scale, it fails to create places. Relatively little area of the park is used actively, and student mostly keep to the public spaces provided by their respective faculties. The park does not invite ‘close quarter use’, mostly because it does not enclose it users. Users of the park feel rather exposed of elements and the prying eyes of the thousands of cyclists that pas by almost every hour.During the place game the group came up with loads of ideas which could alter this. From floating rafts which would make the water accessible, to a giant climbing wall to scale the Aula’s dominating facade. What the ideas had in common is that they all anticipated on the limitless imagination of students. The TU Delft has thousands of students who could be motivated to start transforming the Mekelpark, if they were only given a little bit of room to play with. If the TU Delft could allow for just a bit more play in the Mekelpark, the student could probably solve the little knacks of the park by themselves. The creativity of 20.000 students is more that enough to accomplish this feat.”

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