The first YA biography of Jane Jacobs, the visionary activist, urbanist, and thinker who transformed the way we inhabit and develop our cities.
Jane Jacobs was born more than a hundred years ago, yet the ideas she popularized—about cities, about people, about making a better world—remain hugely relevant today. Now, in Jane Jacobs: Champion of Cities, Champion of People, we have the first biography for young people of the visionary activist, urbanist, and thinker.
Debut author Rebecca Pitts draws on archives and Jacobs’s own writings to paint a vivid picture of a headstrong and principled young girl who grew into one of the most important advocates of her time, and whose impact on the city of New York in particular can still be seen today. Jacobs went against the conventional wisdom of the time that said cities should be designed by so-called experts, “cleaned up,” and separated by use, arguing that such pie-in-the-sky visions paid very little attention to the wants and needs of people who actually live in cities. Jane instead championed diversity, community, “the life of the street,” and the power of grassroots movements to make cities better and more equitable for all. She never backed down, even when it meant going up against the most powerful man in New York, Robert Moses.
Here is a story of standing up for what you know is right, with real-world takeaways for young activists. Jane Jacobs: Champion of Cities, Champion of People emphasizes how today’s teens can take inspiration from Jane’s own activism “playbook,” promoting change by focusing on local issues and community organizing.