From the profile in Business Week: "From her home in Manhattan's bustling Greenwich Village, the opinionated young woman watched with growing disgust as the urban renewal movement that had swept the U.S. after World War II cleared whole neighborhoods in New York and other cities. In their place rose bland Modernist office towers that spawned a kind of urban apartheid, with downtowns set aside for office workers who commuted in from the swelling suburbs, leaving city cores increasingly dark and deserted at night.
The experience prompted Jacobs to write The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Its publication in 1961 triggered a profound shift in the way we look at cities."
Thanks to Chris Steins