On May 16, 2017, the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment of the TU Delft celebrated Jane Jacobs’ contribution to our understanding of contemporary cities once more.

Roberta Brandes Gratz, the celebrated author of “We are Still Here, Ya Bastards” about citizens initiatives  in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina in New Orlean, and Susanne Komossa, Associate Professor at Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment TU Delft, discussed Jane’s ideas and reflected on the notion that Jane Jacobs is still very much relevant today.

This is reflected, among other things, in the immense popularity of Jane’d ideas among young planners and designers. A simple Google search of the term “urban planner” yields the following result:

A line-up of male planners is headed by the most relevant (according to Google’s algorithms), Jane Jacobs. This is ironic, since Jane Jacobs would hardly herself as a planner. Maybe, like Roberta Gratz, she was an anti-planner, someone with an eye for careful empirical observation, for whom cities ought to be understood from the ground-up. Jacobs was an astute observer of the life of cities and the inherent processes that produce both cities and citizenship.

In her talks, Gratz and Komossa highlight respectively, how Jacobs is still relevant as a political theorist and how she can also help us understand how urban form yields meaning and helps define behaviour. This was the closing event of the centennial celebrations of Jane Jacobs at our faculty, organised by the Chair of Spatial Planning and Strategy.

You can listen to the conversation below:

Susanne Komossa

Here you can listen to the speech of Susanna Komossa:

Roberta Gratz

Here you can listen to the speech of Roberta Brandes Gratz:

And here you can listen to the discussion:



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