Jane Jacobs Kicked Off Intertwined Revolutions Of Early 1960s

1961 marked an extraordinary year for urbanism, with the publication of Death and life of Great American Cities, and also foreshadowed two other intellectual and social revolutions led by women: environmentalism and feminism.
December 27, 2011, 5am PST | Josh Stephens
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California Planning & Development Report editor Josh Stephens writes: "Rachel Carson, Betty Friedan, and Jane Jacobs tore at the social fabric of America at the very moment when the country's own global dominance was more assured than ever. They each published their pathbreaking works, in such rapid succession that the sequence hardly matters: Jacobs published Death and Life of Great American Cities in 1961, having begun writing it in 1958; Silent Spring followed in September 1962; and The Feminine Mystique completed the cycle-from city to forest to bedroom-five months later."

"Though they chose different images, they all wrote about the same thing. Carson's concern for nature echoes Jacobs' concern for the built environment. The lifestyle that Friedan describes is the almost-inevitable result of the urban form that Jacobs laments. Both Jacobs and Carson (not to mention Friedan herself) are shining examples of the types of women that Friedan believed all women could and should be."

"As a historical coincidence, the ascendency of Friedan, Carson, and Jacobs ranks up there – in all seriousness -- with the question of how Wal-Mart, K-Mart, and Target all came into being in the same year, thus exacerbating to this very day the problems that all three women railed against. (That year happened to be 1962.)"

Thanks to Josh Stephens

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Published on Saturday, December 24, 2011 in California Planning & Development Report
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