Learning Places

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    Bushra Zuhar Khan
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    Today is the first time I heard about Jane Jacobs; I didn’t know such an influential person existed even though I have been living in New York for almost two decades. Jane was a phenomenal journalist good with her words and she used that talent to fight for New York City. Citizen Jane is a documentary that revolves around Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs and their disagreements on how New York City’s Infrastructure should be built. Robert Moses was a City Planner, whose main goal was to build a city that would profit him and other business owners. However, Jane was a woman for the people, she believed what makes the City is it’s people. Moses’ plans for Urban renewal failed to reflect the needs of the people so Jane became a voice for the people and fought for their neighborhoods and communities. Her efforts to preserve existing neighborhoods from “slum Clearance” were often overhauled by Moses but she was successful in stopping him from changing her own neighborhood of Greenwich Village. She also played a key role in the cancellation of Lower Manhattan Expressway, which according to Moses’ plans would have passed directly through SoHo and Little Italy. Jacobs is also the writer of the famous book The Death and Life of Great American Cities which focused on how Urban renewal did not correspond to the views of the majority of city-dwellers. It criticized Urban Planning and argued that it was the reason for the decline of city neighborhoods in the United States. In Conclusion, Jane Jacobs was a strong woman with a voice so eloquent that even the most powerful people could not overlook her.

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