Today is Ada Lovelace day, a day in which each blogger should talk about a woman who changed the world in her field: a good occasion to talk about the person who gave the biggest contribute to contemporary urbanism, Jane Jacobs.
XIX and early XX century were the century of machines, a century in which the mainstream idea was the possibility to explain everything as the sum of a series of deterministic movements. Cities were explained on the same principles, and deterministic solutions were proposed to solve the problems concerning urban development.
(image: wikimedia commons)
Jane Jacobs was the first to show the limits of this approach, showing how it led to a car dependent, socially impoverished society. Against the deterministic approach of mainstream architecture, she proposed an approach based on life sciences, stating that cities grow in the same way as living organism do.
For further readings:
- A Post about Jane Jacobs on the Project for Public Places
- Jane Jacobs and the future of New York
- Le città sono la ricchezza delle nazioni, a blog in italian entirely dedicated to Jane Jacobs’s works.