This past weekend Jane Jacobs walks took place in over thirty cities across the United States. The Jane Jacobs Walk is a program of the Center for the Living City created by people who knew Jane Jacobs (1916–2006) and wish to celebrate her legacy by helping people organize walks in their communities around the time of Jane's birthday in early May.
Jacobs was a community organizer who helped save her neighborhoods from destruction. She invited everyone to see how cities actually work through experience, to go out and see what makes a neighborhood thrive, or to see what makes a neighborhood struggle. Jacobs's book The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961), a powerful critique of the urban renewal policies of the 1950s in the United States, greatly affected city planning and architecture and the way we think about how life is lived in densely packed urban centers.
Godine is proud to publish Genius of Common Sense: Jane Jacobs and the Story of the Death and Life of Great American Cities by Glenna Lang and Marjory Wunsch, the first book for young people about this heroine who never attended college whose observations, determination, and independent spirit led her to far different conclusions than those of the academics who surrounded her. This title has a far greater range than the young adult audience and will interest people of all ages looking for a good introduction to Jacobs and her work. The hardcover is available now and the paperback will be released in June 2012.