In 1961, Jane Jacobs staged an attack on the status quo of urban design in her seminal novel, The Life and Death of American Cities. She argued that modernist urban planning rejects the city, because it rejects human beings living in a community characterized by layered complexity and seeming chaos. She instead shed light on the potential for a vibrant city as a vessel for health, culture, play, safety, and inclusion when designed to embrace and facilitate chaotic interactions – “intricate minglings”- rather than suppress them.
Nearly half a century later, we are amidst an urban revolution with city populations growing at unprecedented rates. Now, more than ever, Jacobs’ call to create vibrant cities rings true. Rather than suppressing the complexity of this new urban landscape, we must learn to leverage the increasing diversity, proximity, and productivity to create potent centers of change (politically, culturally, technologically, environmentally…).
This site explores ways in which intentional urban design can help to shape more productive, sustainable, and inclusive cities in the hopes that we can continue to learn from, and build upon models of success – while also understanding the tensions and tradeoffs.