Dot Speakers Forum talks Jacobs’ urban planning classic

Reporter Staff
Nov. 8, 2011

The Dorchester Speakers Forum will presents a panel discussion this Friday evening entitled "50 Years Later: Jane Jacobs’ The Death and Life of Great American Cities", a look back at the seminal work of one of the country’s most influential urban planning activists, against the backdrop of Boston’s own development over the past half century.

Former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, author Glenna Lang, and architect David Lee will comprise the panel, which will be moderated by developer and long-time Dorchester resident Frank Keefe. The program is free and open to the public and takes place in Peabody Hall at All Saints Church, 209 Ashmont St., Dorchester (near the corner of Dorchester Ave., next to Ashmont Station) on Friday, Nov. 11 at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 7. There is ample free parking in the church parking lot.

Jacobs, who died in 2006, influenced a generation of urban planners in Boston. As the Boston Globe wrote in her obituary, “activists drew inspiration from her insights as they fought to spare Boston and Cambridge from the Inner Belt and the Southwest Expressway.” She is also credited for the concept behind the creation of Quincy Market here in Boston and wrote with high praise of Boston’s North End and its density, calling it “the healthiest neighborhood in the city.” The publication of her book probably saved the North End from the fate of Boston’s West End. Many of the city’s planners and developers are greatly influenced by Jacobs’ thinking, and this influence can be seen throughout Dorchester and the rest of the city.

An audience Q & A will follow the presentation. Copies of the 50th Anniversary edition of The Death and Life of Great American Cities, as well as Lang’s Genius of Common Sense will be available for purchase from the Harvard Book Store at the event. A portion of the proceeds from book sales will go to Dorchester Speakers Forum.



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