Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Reflections on Jane Jacobs


Great news from our friends at the Rockefeller Foundation: Rosanne Haggerty, the founder of Community Solutions and the Brownsville Partnership, is one of the winners of the Jane Jacobs Medal for her contributions to urban life in New York City.

I've known Rosanne for more than a decade and have always admired her drive and ambition.  In fact, the Center for Court Innovation made an institutional commitment to Brownsville largely because of Rosanne's advocacy -- she has been relentless in trying to attract dollars, programming, and political will to the neighborhood.  The Center is just one of many organizations that she has cajoled into action.   I'm grateful for her friendship and excited about this latest feather in her cap.

As it happens, I've been thinking about Jane Jacobs' classic book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities a lot recently as I've tried to work out my feelings about the new Brooklyn Nets arena around the corner from my house.  What would Jacobs have thought of the Barclays Center?  It is impossible to say, of course.   On the one hand, as an advocate for the street grid, she may have loathed the sheer size of the project and the impact it has on the flow of pedestrians between Park Slope, Prospect Heights and Fort Greene. On the other hand, as a believer in mixed use, she may have championed the way that the building is bringing new audiences and new activities into the center of Brooklyn.

As a special bonus, here's a link to Rosanne Haggerty writing about Jane Jacobs.