I'm Steve Ember. And I'm Barbara Klein with PEOPLE IN AMERICA in VOA Special English. Today we tell about Jane Jacobs. She was an activist for improving cities.
Jane Jacobs was an activist, writer, moral thinker and economist. She believed cities should be densely populated and full of different kinds of people and activities. She believed in the value of natural growth and big open spaces.
She opposed the kind of city planning that involves big development and urban renewal projects that tear down old communities. She was also a critic of public planning officials who were unwilling to compromise.
Jacobs helped lead fights to save neighborhoods and local communities within cities. She helped stop major highways from being built, first in New York City and later in Toronto, Canada.
Developers and city planners often criticized her ideas. Yet, many urban planning experts agree that her work helped shape modern thinking about cities.
Jane Butzner was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in nineteen sixteen. Her father was a doctor. Her mother was a former teacher and nurse. After graduating from high school, Jane took an unpaid position at the Scranton Tribune newspaper. A year later she left Scranton for New York City.
During her first several years in the city she held many kinds of jobs. One job was to write about workers in the city. She said these experiences gave her a better idea about what working in the city was like.
As a young woman, Jacobs had many interests, including economics, law, science and politics. Her higher education was brief, however. She studied for just two years at Columbia University in New York. Jacobs did not complete her college education, but she did become an excellent writer and editor. While working as a writer for the Office of War Information she met a building designer named Robert Jacobs.
In nineteen forty-four, they married. They later had three children. Her husband's work led to her interest in the monthly magazine, Architectural Forum. Jacobs became a top editor for the publication.
Experts have described Jacobs as a writer who wrote well, but not often. She is best known for her book "The Death and Life of Great American Cities." The book was published in nineteen sixty-one. It is still widely read today by both city planning professionals and the general public.
Experts say "The Death and Life of Great American Cities" is the most influential book written about city planning in the twentieth century.
In the book, Jacobs criticized the urban renewal projects of the nineteen fifties. She believed these policies destroyed existing inner-city communities and their economies.
She also thought that modern planning policies separated communities and created unnatural city areas. Jacobs described the nature of cities – their streets and parks, the different cultures represented by citizens and the safety of a well-planned city. Safety was an important issue in big cities that had high rates of crime.
Jacobs wrote that peace on the streets of cities is not kept mainly by the police even though police are necessary. It is kept by a system of controls among the people themselves. She believed the problem of insecurity cannot be solved by spreading people out more thinly.
Jacobs argued that a well-used city street is safer than an empty street. Safety, she argued, is guaranteed by people who watch the streets every day because they use the streets every day.
"The Death and Life of Great American Cities" became a guide for neighborhood organizers and the people who Jacobs called "foot people." These are citizens who perform their everyday jobs on foot. They walk to stores and to work. They walk to eating places, theaters, parks, gardens and sports stadiums. They are not who Jacobs called "car people" – those who drive their cars everywhere.
Jane Jacobs also believed that buildings of different sizes, kinds and condition should exist together. She pointed to several communities as models of excellence. These include Georgetown in Washington, D.C. the North End in Boston, Massachusetts; Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Telegraph Hill in San Francisco, California.
She also supported mixed-use buildings as a way to increase social interaction. Such buildings have stores and offices on the ground floor. People live on the upper floors. Mixed-use buildings are a lot more common in American cities than in the suburban areas around them.
Jane Jacobs also noted New York City's Greenwich Village as an example of an exciting city community. This is one of the communities that was saved, in part at least, because of her writings and activism. In nineteen sixty-two, Jacobs headed a committee to stop the development of a highway through Lower Manhattan in New York City. The expressway would have cut right through Greenwich Village and the popular SoHo area.
Influential New York City developer Robert Moses proposed the plan. But huge public protests in nineteen sixty-four led the city government to reject it. Jacobs' book, "The Death and Life of Great American Cities" helped influence public opinion against the expressway.
In nineteen sixty-nine, Jacobs moved to the Canadian city of Toronto where she lived for the rest of her life. Part of her reason for leaving the United States was because she opposed the United States involvement in the war in Vietnam. At that time, she had two sons almost old enough to be called for duty. Jacobs continued to be a community activist in Toronto.
She was involved in a campaign to stop the Spadina Expressway through Toronto. This highway would have permitted people living in suburban areas outside Toronto to travel into and out of the city easily.
Jacobs organized citizens against the Spadina Expressway and the politicians who supported it. One of her most important issues was this question: "Are we building cities for people or for cars?"
Today, experts say Toronto is one of only a few major cities in North America to have successfully kept a large number of neighborhoods in its downtown area. Many experts believe this is because of the anti-Spadina movement led by Jane Jacobs.
Jane Jacobs spent her life studying cities. She wrote seven books on urban planning, the economy of cities, and issues of commerce and politics. Her last book, published in two thousand four, was "Dark Age Ahead." In it, Jacobs described several major values that she believed were threatened in the United States and Canada. These included community and family, higher education, science and technology and a government responsive to citizens' needs.
In "Dark Age Ahead," Jacobs argued that Western society could be threatened if changes were not made immediately. She said that people were losing important values that helped families succeed.
In "Dark Age Ahead," Jacobs also criticized how political decision-making is influenced by economics. Governments, she said, have become more interested in wealthy interest groups than the needs of the citizens. Jacobs also warned against a culture that prevents people from preventing the destruction of resources upon which all citizens depend.
Jane Jacobs had her critics. Many of them argued that her ideas failed to represent the reality of city politics, which land developers and politicians often control. Others argued that Jacobs had little sympathy for people who want a lifestyle different from the one she proposed.
Still, many urban planning experts say her ideas shaped modern thinking about cities. She has had a major influenced on those who design buildings and towns that aim to increase social interaction among citizens.
Jane Jacobs died in two thousand six in Toronto at the age of eighty-nine. Her family released a statement on her death. It said: "What's important is not that she died but that she lived, and that her life's work has greatly influenced the way we think. Please remember her by reading her books and implementing her ideas."
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简·雅各布斯是一位活动家，作家，道德的思想家和经济学家 。她认为城市应该人口密集，充满了各种各样的人和活动 。她相信自然生长和开阔空间的价值 。
她反对那种包含大发展和市区重建的项目的城市规划，那些规划会拆掉旧的社区 。她还批评那些不愿妥协的公共规划官员 。
雅各布斯帮助领导了拯救城市社区和当地社区的斗争 。她帮助阻止了大型铁路的建设，先是在纽约，后来是在加拿大多伦多 。
开发商和城市规划者经常批判她的观点 。但是，很多城市规划专家认为，她的工作帮助塑造了现代城市思维 。
简·雅各布斯于1916年出生在宾夕法尼亚州的斯克兰顿 。她父亲是个医生 。她的母亲曾是一名教师和护士 。高中毕业后，简在《斯克兰顿论坛报》找到了一份无薪工作 。一年后，她离开斯克兰顿前往纽约市 。
在来这个城市的头几年里，简做过各种各样的工作 。其中一项工作是写关于城市工人的文章 。她说，这些经历让她对在这座城市工作有了更好的了解 。
作为一名年轻的女性，雅各布斯有很多的兴趣，包括经济学，法律，科学和政治 。但是她的高等教育很简单 。她只在纽约的哥伦比亚大学学习了两年 。雅各布斯没有完成她的大学教育，但是她确实成为了一名出色的作家和编辑 。在为战时新闻处写作时，她遇到了一位名叫罗伯特·雅各布斯的建筑设计师 。
在1944年，他们结婚了 。后来他们有了三个孩子 。她丈夫的工作使她对月刊《建筑论坛》产生了兴趣 。雅各布斯成为该刊物的高级编辑 。
她最著名的著作是《美国大城市的生与死》 。这本书出版于1961年 。时至今日，无论是城市规划专业人士还是普通民众，都在广泛阅读这本书 。专家称，在20世纪，《美国大城市的生与死》是关于城市规划的最有影响力的著作 。
雅各布斯在书中批评了20世纪50年代的城市重建项目 。她认为这些政策破坏了现有的市中心社区及其经济 。
她也认为现代的规划政策分离了社区，创造了不自然的城市区域 。雅各布斯描述了城市的自然性-它们的街道和公园，由市民代表的不同的文化和规划良好的城市的安全性 。安全在高犯罪率的大城市里是一个重要的议题 。
雅各布斯写道，虽然警察是必要的，但城市街道的和平不是主要由警察维持的 。它是由人民内部的一种控制系统来维持的 。她认为，不安全的问题不能将人们分散地更稀疏来解决 。
雅各布斯认为，一个常用的城市街道比一个空街道更加安全 。她认为，安全是由每天观察街道的人保证的，因为他们每天使用街道 。
《美国大城市的生与死》成为了社区组织者和雅各布斯称之为“步行之人”的人的一个向导，这些都是步行完成日常工作的公民 。他们步行去商店和工作 。他们步行去吃饭的地方，剧院，公园，花园和体育馆 。他们并不是雅各布斯所说的“汽车人”——那些开车到处跑的人 。
简·雅各布斯还认为，不同规模、不同类型、不同条件的建筑应该共存 。她指出，有几个社区是优秀的典范 。其中包括华盛顿特区的乔治敦，马萨诸塞州波士顿的北端；宾夕法尼亚州费城的里顿豪斯广场和加利福尼亚州旧金山的电报山 。
她还支持将多用途建筑作为增加社会互动的一种方式 。这些建筑在底层有商店和办公室，人们居住在上层 。多用途建筑在美国城市比在郊区更为常见 。
简·雅各布斯也提到纽约的格林威治村是一个令人激动的城市社区 。这是个被拯救的社区之一，至少部分是因为简的作品和行动主义 。1962年，雅各布斯领导了一个委员会，以阻止在纽约市开发一条穿过下曼哈顿区的高速公路 。高速公路将直接穿过格林威治村和著名的SoHo区 。
有影响力的纽约开发商罗伯特·莫斯提议了这个计划 。但是1964年的大规模公共抗议导致市政府否决了这个计划 。雅各布斯的书《美国大城市的生与死》帮助影响了反对高速公路的公共观点 。
1969年，雅各布斯搬到了加拿大城市多伦多，在那里她度过了余生 。她离开美国的原因之一是因为她反对美国参加越战 。那时，她的两个儿子几乎到了应征入伍的年龄 。雅各布斯继续在多伦多从事社区活动 。
她参加了一个阻止建设通过多伦多的司帕蒂娜高速公路的活动 。这条高速公路将会使居住在多伦多城外的郊区的人们方便地进出这个城市 。
今天，专家表示，多伦多是北美少数几个在市中心成功保留了大量社区的主要城市之一 。很多专家认为，这是因为由简·雅各布斯领导的反司帕蒂娜高速公路运动 。
简·雅各布斯毕生都在研究城市 。她写了七本关于城市规划、城市经济和商业和政策问题的书 。她的上一本书出版于2004年，名为《集体失忆的年代》 。雅各布斯在信中描述了她认为在美国和加拿大受到威胁的几种主要价值观 。这些包括社区和家庭、高等教育、科学和技术以及响应公民需要的政府 。
在《集体失忆的年代》中，雅各布斯表示，如果不立即做出改变，西方社会可能会受到威胁 。她表示人们正在失去重要的帮助家庭成功的价值观 。
在《集体失忆的年代》中，雅各布斯也批判了政治决策是如何受经济学影响的 。她说，政府对富裕利益集团的兴趣已经超过了对公民需求的兴趣 。雅各布斯还对一种阻止人们防止所有公民所依赖的资源遭到破坏的文化提出了警告 。
简·雅各布斯有她的批评者 。很多都认为她的观点不能代表城市政治的现实，它经常由开发商和政治家控制 。其他人认为，雅各布斯对于想要和她提议的不同的生活方式的人没有什么同情心 。
很多城市规划专家认为简的观点塑造了现代城市思维 。她对于设计楼宇和城镇以增加市民社会互动性的人们有重大影响 。
简·雅各布斯于2006年在多伦多去世，享年89岁 。她的家人公布了一个她的去世声明 。声明中写道：“重要的不是她去世了，而是她活过 。她一生的工作极大地影响了我们的思维方式 。请通过阅读她的作品和实现她的想法的方式铭记她 。”