Obituary: Jane Holtz Kay, Architecture Critic for 'The Nation'

"The Nation’s" longtime architecture critic and author of the classic, "Asphalt Nation: How the Automobile Took Over America and How We Can Take it Back" passed away Nov. 5. In her obituary, Preston Shiller contrasts her with another "Jane" - Jacobs.
December 16, 2012, 11am PST | Irvin Dawid
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Preston L. Schiller writes, "I was fortunate to have been acquainted with the two Janes beginning in the early 1990s and I benefitted greatly from talks and walks with each in their beloved neighborhoods. The two Janes met on at least one occasion and hit it off well, and Jacobs supplied a glowing blurb for the cover of 'Asphalt Nation'".

Schiller notes that Hotz-Kay was also influenced by Lewis Mumford, architectural critic for The New Yorker"beginning with her 1960 Radcliffe senior thesis and first interview with him... I imagine a car-free corner and a café table where Mumford and the two Janes are seated—Holtz Kay between the other two to maintain the peace."

Jane Holtz Kay's obituary was published in The New York Times on Nov. 20 in the "Environment" section. Paul Vitello writes, "Her book ('Asphalt Nation'), subtitled “How the Automobile Took Over America and How We Can Take It Back,” proposed ways to reverse the environmental damage caused by suburban sprawl: by returning to the city, using public transit, living one’s daily life, as much as possible, within walking distance."

"Ellen Goodman, Ms. Kay’s sister and a former columnist for The Boston Globe, said Ms. Kay had grown up and raised her own children in the suburbs but decided to give up her car and move to an apartment in Boston when she began writing “Asphalt Nation” in 1991.

She died of complications of Alzheimer’s disease, Ms. Goodman said."  She was 74.

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Published on Tuesday, December 11, 2012 in The Nation
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