Google is celebrating urban planning legend Jane Jacobs on what would be her 100th birthday with a Google Doodle.

Jane Jacobs Google Doodle

Jacobs, who wasn’t a trained urban planner or architect, became a major voice in urban planning after publishing The Death and Life of Great American Cities in 1961. Counter to the dominant theories of the time, Jacobs advocated for allowing cities to retain their old, community-based charm instead of getting bulldozed for the creation of high-rises and highways.

The Google Doodle on Wednesday, May 4 features a cartoon of Jacobs surrounded by drawings of the Washington Square Arch in New York City’s Greenwich Village neighborhood, brownstones, trees, bicycles and small businesses, representing what Jacobs thought made a city a place in which people enjoyed living.


Jane Jacobs Google Doodle

“Jane Jacobs was a self-taught journalist and community organizer that supported keeping the city of New York diverse in shape and function,” Google explains. “She stood by beloved neighborhoods that were unjustly slated for “renewal” and revealed political biases in the permit process for new projects. In Jacob’s opinion, cities are for the people, and they’re safest when residents mingle on the street and in local businesses. Jacobs developed her philosophy through living and interacting with the city itself, and described life on the city streets as a kind of social ballet.”

Among Jacobs biggest accomplishments was putting a halt to architect Robert Moses plans to create an expressway across Lower Manhattan that would have split SoHo and included an entrance ramp that would have torn through Washington Square Park. Jacobs also had a hand in saving other cities like San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and Portland, Ore., from rebuilding projects.

Read more about:

Leave a comment