Category Archives: BLOG4


Short Film: Citizen Jane: Battle by for the city by Matt Tyrnauer
Super interesting historical documentary!
Jane Jacobs’s was a writer as well as an activist that set effective movements through the architecture and planning worlds. She disagreed with several New York master plans of Robert Moses that saved many areas that we love most today. This film explains the struggles of Jane Jacobs protecting NYC from bad urbanization proposals.
Like most of the city of NY, her neighborhood was a place you can live a whole life without a car. In NYC life depends on how alive the street and interacting with the community. Robert Moses view was that cars where the future that belonged on those streets. This was a time where CO2 emission are not considered life threatening. He advocated that the ground level was for cars, and people would enjoy the city from the high rise levels. He was far away from the actual reality. His master plans required vast  residential relocation which would break communities to create massive highway, that were not in demand even. This was not what the locals needed, therefore they protested it. These ambitious plans of the time should have been planed with no effect to local residents,to improve their lifestyles.
Once I heard the point of Jane Jacobs where she emphasis the importance of the typical new yorker on the street level being a part of the community, she would make us question the hierarchy of the public street. Urban planing then further develops a set of design rules from this precedent layering Pedestrian path>Bike Lane>Parked car > Street Lane which to means a  protection for the community.


Jane Jacobs vs Robert Moses: Urban Fight of the Century

Citizen Jane: Battle by for the city by Matt Tyrnauer focuses on the challenges faced by inconsiderable urban planning. The film highlights the villainous proposal by Robert Moses, an urban planner, to construct a new highway that would run down Broome Street. It also highlights the efforts by Jane Jacobs who opposed the new expressway in her community. As an activist and a resident of the West Village, she realized the need for social integration and not highways. In realizing the hostile effects of automobile expressways, she organized rallies and protest in her community. Ms. Jacobs dedication towards preserving the neighborhood resulted in her being accused of starting a riot at a public hearing about the LOMEX. It was then that many people took notice of her efforts and how far she was willing to go. With a huge following, she utilized every possible avenue and outlet available and could eradicate the heinous idea.
Throughout the movie, I couldn’t help but relate it to David and Goliath. Robert Moses certainly took on the figure of the Goliath through the documentary. He had influence and could construct the Bronx expressway which has been blamed for bisecting the area into two parts, upper class, and middle class. His approach towards the Lower Manhattan Expressway was one of a top-down tactic without concern for neighborhoods and their way of life. Jane Jacobs, on the other hand, was the opposite of Robert Moses. She was the David to his Goliath. Ms. Jacobs lived amongst the people on the ground, more specifically Greenwich village, which is situated in lower Manhattan. She published her book, The Death, and Life of Great American Cities, which was thought-provoking as it focused on the narrow-sightedness of urban planning. Her approach to urban planning involved removing the top down closed-door approach and involving the people of the community to aid in the future of their neighborhoods.
The documentary presented a new light and appreciation for thoughtful city planning. Jane Jacobs efforts seem to have at least a passive effect on modern developers. It is tough to see past plans which show the highway bisecting Manhattan. One can only imagine the level of disconnect neighborhoods would feel from such an inconsiderable expressway.

Blog#4_Jacobs vs Moses

We watched a part of a movie called Citizen Jane: Battle for the city by Matt Tyrnauer.  The movie shows the legendary battles over the shape of New York City between the writer and activist Jane Jacobs and the urban-renewal “Master Builder” Robert Moses.

From previous discussions in the class and also from the movie we came to know that Jane Jacobs was a journalist, author, and activist who lived with his architect husband in the SoHo area of the New York City. She is best known for her influence on urban studies, sociology, and economics. Prof. Joelson mentioned a book called The Death and Life of Great American Cities that had raised the question whether urban renewal respect the needs of most city-dwellers. On the other hand, we have come to know Robert Moses as one of the most polarizing figures in the history of urban development in the United States.

In the movie we see the constant conflict in the ideologies of Ms. Jacobs and Mr. Moses. Not only the ideologies were different, but the way of implementing things were very different too. One of the factors that struck a lot was the “Ribbon Cutting ceremony” of Mr. Robert Moses just like any other inaugural event as opposed to Ms. Jacobs’ “Ribbon Tying Ceremony. The fact that the development of New York City was a misinterpretation of LeCorbusier left me awestruck. The city that I had always to come to from my childhood was built out of a misinterpretation? That upsets me a little. Moses prioritized cars and wanted to build highways disregarding the neighborhoods while Jacobs acknowledged the importance of the sidewalks, the people, the community that essentially made up the city. She emphasized that although a lot of people on the street may look chaotic, but there is an order of complexity in it. A very systematic, easy to understand/navigate roadway system might look fascinating on a superficial level, but it only makes a dead city. Living cities are and will always be congested. This is what helps to create the theater of life in the cities. An old lady can spend all her day just by looking at the chaotic yet lively city street as opposed to that of an overtly organized highway.

In the movie Jane Jacobs introduced sociological concepts such as “eyes on the street” and “social capital”. She said deserted streets are unsafe. Not only officers in uniform can keep the citizens safe but actually, “New Yorkers keep New York safe” If we think of it with any of the personal experiences we might have had, we always tend to walk on the side of the streets that has enough lighting, shops, and people, because we know when we are at a public space with a lot of people no one will be that brave to attack you. We unknowingly rely on the other people on the street for our safety. Carol Geitzer, urban activist and a friend of Jane Jacob said, “The challenge is to build the city in which not just the rich live safely and nobly.”  And I cannot have agreed more.

I agree to most of the ideals of Jane Jacobs. But I still think the movie was a little biased towards Ms. Jane Jacobs, and assumed a black-and-white view of urban neighborhoods, that they are either Jacobsesque or Moses-like, messy and teeming with life or shiny and homogenized. And the movie slightly inclines to the fact that anything shiny and homogenized is dead or not very acceptable by the people of the community. But I don’t think that is always the case. Homogenized developments can also be beautiful; can also be lively and engaging. While I agree, Jacobs’ theories offered a brilliant guide to protecting existing neighborhoods; I don’t think it always helps us to design anything new from scratch. By that I don’t necessarily mean we want New York City to look like Dubai or Los Angeles in anyway, I understand the fact that situations, environment everything is different but still we do need to build new developments in the city but also keeping community intact. I understand it is complicated, but I have a firm belief it is possible to “build NYC like Moses but keeping Jacobs in mind”.

Blog Four

Citizen Jane: Battle for the City is a great movie, although I didn’t get a chance to look at the whole movie, the parts that I was shown during class had a lot of deep meaning to it and a lot of information most common people might not know. The two biggest characters in this movie, who are real are, Jane Jacobs and Robert Moises. These two people are very different from another an they have different view on what they see in a city. Jane Jacobs has more ground view of New York City , whereas for Robert Moises he had a bird’s eye view who only knew from a view above about New York City. The main topic i got from the movie clips is that Jane Jacobs wants chaos because chaos is what makes the city and neighborhoods safe and orderly. Whereas for Robert Moises he just wants more money in his pockets and thinks that his plan are better for the neighborhood when really they aren’t. Robert Moises wanted to stretch 5th ave and have a bus go through Washington Square Park. Jane Jacobs was not having it, she loved that park and so did a lot of other people from the neighborhood, so to bring a bus into the park wouldn’t make it a park nor would it make it the centerpiece place for all neighborhoods to go to. So, Jacobs fought back and Robert Moises didn’t like to be told “no”. But, the whole neighborhood was in different rallies and saying no because that is their neighborhood and they know that all Moises cares about is his money and how to make more of it. Overall the movie showed a lot of New York City history that doesn’t get told and how these people who help run this city mostly think of the money they could make and not about the neighborhoods or even a thought on how they’re destroying the neighborhoods and the order of things.

Urban renewal blog #4

After watching the documentary trying to determine whether or not Robert Moses has done to New York City did he help or destroy. To determine that we have to see what exactly Robert Moses did and how it affected people and whether or not his projects helped.

Robert Moses saw money and profit by proposing the idea of modernization and building new complexes. Essentially taking the failed model in Paris. By building many of these project buildings that were shown was a complete fail even if it was successful in the beginning the issue was that many of these buildings and areas had nothing around them and were poorly maintained. Another issue was that Robert Moses didn’t understand was the complexity of the city like Jean Jacobs who understood that the chaos within the city is perfectly in harmony despite how it looked from the outside. I felt that Robert Moses lacked this understanding and for him he just wanted to remove that. But in reality by doing exactly that he was destroying the city.

Building the cross Bronx expressway was physically separating the community as we saw that the community there had a massive ditch built and buildings torn down to build the expressway. This was because Robert’s belief that cars are more important for the city because it was up and coming technological change. He thought it would make the city more prosperous but as Jean Jacobs said it is the people on the street the life the street that make the city. The ecosystem and mutual bonds that create life in the city and make it possible. Not highways or roads tailored specifically for cars as those destroy and divided the city.

commoner’s veiw of ubanization # Blog 4

Project urbanization meant to Robert Mosses to tear down homes of people leaving in lower Manhattan, by creating highways. In his eyes it meant that “a city without traffic is like a ghost town”. In his opinion he looks upon an area that is a working class to be considered the “slums”. He wanted to bring about a vast renewal project that serves as free flow of a highway. the vision that Robert mosses that seemed was to swamp down many neighborhoods just for the sake of his vision, not considering how many homes he might destroy along the way. The determination of many of the residents had driven to sought out a change to stop the destruction of communities. To help their fight was a journalist Jane Jacob, who was a common individual that understood the devastation of the residents. Jacobs used the power of journalism to reach out for change for these citizens. She had a different kind off vision she held was to create a more harmonized neighborhood, and create an integrated community. Her tools where not only her writings, but rather she fought by rallying and walking in marches with the residents. The fight brought many individuals together that created a powerful change. Many oppositions disagreed to Moses view about building an expressway by stating that he finds “expressways more important than people”.

In my opinion, Robert Moses is like one of the current day developer who reconstructs an area, thinking that they are doing the right thing, but due to his arrogance, he doesn’t see the harms his views are affecting to the common people. His ideas are to create more ways for automobiles to pass, by destroying the homes of people. The question lies that are those expressways worth more than the affect it will have on lives of humans living in that community? Jane Jacob proved Moses wrong by demonstrating the true meaning of urbanizing the city and geared it in a rightful direction by exemplifying determination of her vision to fight for the residents of that are. In reflection to this Gownus area in Brooklyn, there is a canal inside Gownus that has been polluted. This canal needs a lot of reconstruction due to the former industrial waste. Although many developers are planning to develop modern architectural buildings and create a gentrified neighborhood, these developers are forgetting that the canal is a part of the neighborhood that can’t be overlooked. The canal serves as a historical monument. To contribute change to Gownus the residents should part take in the reconstruction of the canal.


Citizen Jane – Blog Post 4

In class, we watched multiple parts of a movie titled Citizen Jane. Jane Jacobs tells the story of what can happen when engaged citizens come together and fight the power for the sake of a better world and environment. No one ever did put efforts or try hard enough to create an understanding except for Jane. She was a visionary activist and writer who fought to preserve urban communities in the face of destructive development projects. Robert Moses, who was a public official, tries to ruin lower Manhattan by creating highway, which is a dramatic struggle over the very soul of the neighborhood. In addition, Jane only cared about her neighborhood and tried to make it a better place. Moses wanted to deconstruct the Bronx, which would cause so many change and inconvenience for the people living there. I agree with Jane when she states the chaos brings in a sense of community. The problem of the city crime level in regards of housing projects includes violence, rape, and neglect for love, gun violence, and child endangerment. Relating this movie to Gowanus, Brooklyn, and the city is trying to take down and remove some of the industrial businesses and install residential buildings and apartments for people. This is all part of the uplift of Gowanus. This relates to the movie because some people agree and disagree about this change. Many people will be affected by these changes and will be forced to adapt to a new lifestyle.

Citizen Jane: Battle for the City

The movie, Citizen Jane: Battle for the City, is focused on the two perspectives from Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs. They are representing two social classes: new developers and residents. Robert Moses was a public officer known as the “Master Builder” in mid-20th century in New York. He believed that what important for the city were new buildings, constructions and transportations. As an urban planner, he looked at the city from the upper side. Therefore he never knew what the soul of a neighborhood was about, like many other developers. In his belief, making a better city is to construct many new projects. For example, he created many modernism housing projects that he thought it could solve low income residents and high-density residents’ problems. However, after old houses, shops, and groceries were torn down, people who used to live in the neighborhood never come back because of the high rent and lost relationship. His action is not improving the situation but made it worse. Moreover, the more they built in a neighborhood, the more they destroyed the spirt of it. I was shocked about how he wants to build a new highway go through Lower Manhattan. However, activists, like Jane Jacobs, stood up and took actions to against Robert Moses. Therefore, there are still many cast iron buildings in Soho Historic District, where people can shop and entertain. Moreover, it attracts many tourists from all over the world. I believe what makes a great city is not the physical buildings or new highways, but people who interact with each other in the neighborhood, which is Jane Jacobs’s philosophy. Jane Jacobs, known as a journalist and an activist, has a different vision of definition of a city from Robert Moses. She viewed the city from the street, like one of her sociological concepts “eyes on the street”. She believes what made the neighborhood great was the people in the street. The sidewalk and public space were more important than railways, because those are the places where the residents can entertain, get information, and communicate. On my perspective, as urban planners or building developers, they should not only viewed the city from the sky, but also from the street. Therefore, they can know the DNA of the neighborhood. Once people understand the neighborhood, they can build a better neighborhood. As we were doing research on Gowanus Canal, we did site visit to know more about the DNA of this neighborhood. The more we know about this place, the more we understand it.

Blog Post 4 – Jacobs/Moses

Jane Jacobs showed the world an interesting perspective, and a perspective that everyone should really consider. Robert Moses on the other hand, was a key person in the history of New York City who mainly just wanted to “rebuild” or “improve” the city. Jacobs was pretty much the complete opposite of Moses on many issues. Moses mainly cared about the future of the city, and he didn’t really consider what would happen to the people that were currently living in the neighborhoods that he wanted to change.

The Cross Bronx Expressway was one of Robert Moses’ most famous ideas. We might like the Cross Bronx Expressway now, since it made driving through the Bronx much quicker, in most cases. The issue with this was that people lived where the Cross Bronx now runs. Moses basically bulldozed his way and had the expressway built, but didn’t really care about the people that lived in the area.

Jane Jacobs fought hard with a group of people that had businesses or lived in the downtown Manhattan area. Moses wanted to also build a cross Manhattan expressway that ran right to the Lincoln tunnel from the Manhattan Bridge. This would’ve devastated businesses and historic buildings in the SoHo and Greenwich Village region of Manhattan. Jacobs got together with people who lived in the area, and protested enough to prevent the expressway from being built. It’s safe to say this is one of her bigger accomplishments, since Greenwich Village and SoHo are very important parts of the borough of Manhattan to this day. If it wasn’t for Jane Jacobs, we might not have those areas of Manhattan to this day.

Moses v. Jacobs – Blog 4

A huge factor in contributing to the difference in opinion between Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses is the idea that the automobile is the greatest influencer on the modern world. Robert Moses destroyed major cities and neighborhoods to push highways through cities; He believed this to be a progressive. Looking from the outside in, this idea of more roads and intersecting highways appeared physically appealing. However, there was little concern for the things that contribute to the sense of community within a city: the people. Jane Jacobs believed communities should be viewed from the street level. She opposed the belief that the car reigns supreme. But rather it is the people that inhabit these cities, those that walk, the social interactions between residents and business owners, the local businesses, etc. that contribute to the greatness of a city and foster a sense of community.

While I agree that the automobile is a great influencer on the modern world, I do not believe it is the greatest. There is a social component to cities that Jacobs acknowledges which is not taken into account by Moses. Putting so much pressure on the use of the automobile contributes to depleting this social component. If everyone got from place to place by use of a car, there would be less foot traffic in stores. There would be less interaction between people. There would also be much less hustle and bustle which is expected of a city area. Consider most of the smaller cities in the south; There is little life because of the lack of people seen on the roads and sidewalks. This is the total opposite of what comes to mind when people hear the word “city.”