In the post World War II era, achieving the American Dream entailed owning a large, detached home in the suburbs with a bright green lawn and a car… or three. Urban centers in the United States were perceived as places to go for work or to pass through. In turn, this idea of what a city should be influenced what planners and city leaders built. Highways b egan to cut through once vibrant downtowns, enabling the growth of low-density developments. The emerging science of transport planning focused on how to move cars quickly in and out of the city, not move people within the city.
Jane Jacobs, writer and community activist, was central to reversing this mindset. She showed that cities were places of community, encouraged mixed-use development and vibrant pedestrian thoroughfares, and shifted the idea of transport planning from movement to access. In recognition of the way her contributions continue to shape so much of the ideology that urban planners and landscape architects use to create the cities of today, Jacobs is the first entry into TheCityFix’s Urbanism Hall of Fame.