People’s Right to the City


Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs have well-documented differences in planning cities. What are the main 5 characteristics that Robert Moses wanted to see in a city and always promoted. And what are the main 5 qualities that Jane Jacob fought to achieve in order to maintain the identity and sense of place.

In no more than two pages, describe this conflict and what are the lessons learned from it for future planners and city mayors. Use the lens of David Harvey’s description to this conflict whenever applicable to support your argument.


14 thoughts on “People’s Right to the City

  1. Robert Moses focuses on urbanization as a way to reconstruct the city by inserting major highway systems and infrastructure, to increase vehicular use. His projects were funded by external sources; in which after constructed would continue to profit and expand to bring in surplus financing. The goal was to receive “highest possible financial rate of return” and control capital surplus. He wanted his highway systems to reach the urban core of cities, resulting in the displacement of minorities and low-income families. Moses’ designs were intended to change the lifestyles of people within the city and were designed to bring new opportunities and products to the area. This would change the social atmosphere of the city by removing public spaces and displace families from their homes. Moses’s priority was to develop the city; however he had no consideration of the people who called the area home. The major issue with his plan was that he forgot about his obligations to ethical behavior and instead only focused on financial gain.
    Jane Jacobs’ became a representative and defender of the people whom were negatively impacted by Moses’ designs. She fought for equality and preservation of original urban fabric; including communities and public spaces. Urban spaces have unique characteristics, being their structures and communities. She wanted to protect these elements from being destroyed for vehicles and infrastructure. She was a role model for the people and influenced them to get involved to fight for what they believe in. Jacobs focused on the people and worked towards in creating “pedestrian friendly environments” that support health and safety.

    Moses and Jacobs are well-known rivals that fought for what they believed was the right thing. Moses believed in profiting by creating vehicle friendly environments, while Jacobs fought for the community; protecting their homes and public spaces. I think these ideas are important to consider as we continue to develop the environment. As landscape architects and planners, we are taught to protect nature and seek designs that preserve resources, however, many developers fail to practice these concepts. Developers are generally profit driven; lacking consideration of the people their designs may be impacting. David Harvey referenced instances in history that had a negative outcome, such as Paris. This circumstance was similar to the design Moses proposed for New York City that did not pass. Designers need to work to include local citizens in the development process, government decisions, and economic impact that will directly affect them. A idea of unification is supported by Harvey in a quote found on page 13, “One step towards unification of these struggles is to focus on the right to the city as both a working slogan and a political ideal, precisely because it focuses on who it is that commands the inner connection that has prevailed from time immemorial between urbanization and surplus production and use. The democratization of the right to the city and the construction of a broad social movement to enforce its will is imperative, if the dispossessed are to take back control of the city from which they have for so long been excluded and if new modes of controlling capital surpluses as they work through urbanization processes are to be instituted” (Harvey, 2008).

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  2. The planning of the major cities of the U.S has changed dramatically, because of those, such as Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs. Their differences in opinion and vision for the city were complete opposite, but both of their views of what the cities should look like have shaped how we see them today. Robert Moses believed that the urbanization that was happening throughout cities was important, and thought that creating major highway systems and increasing vehicular circulation was a top priority. Moses wanted to “change the scale of thinking about the urban process and through the system of (debt-financed) highways and infrastructural transformations, through suburbanization and through the total re-engineering, not just of the city but of the whole metropolitan region, he absorbed the surplus product and thereby helped resolve the capital surplus absorption problem” P. 5 (Harvey, 2008). With this being said, Moses wanted to design these highway systems that would also lead to the city core. Moses had innovative ideas, but financial gain began to overtake his sense of ethical values. Many of the highway systems would destroy people’s neighborhoods and homes, while creating a divide within major communities that were stabilized. This transition of invading communities, within the core of the city caused a big traditionalist movement who began to fight against Moses and his initiative.

    Jane Jacobs was one of the traditionalists that really stood up for what she believed in and defended, what was morally and ethically right. She became the defender of the people who weren’t able to have such a strong voice. The people whose homes and neighborhoods were in harm’s way of Moses’ designs. She believed of the importance of community and the unique characteristics that each neighborhood in the city possessed. She fought to preserve the sense of place and creating pedestrian friendly environments that were not overtaken by vehicular traffic.

    In the reading, “The Right to the City,” David Harvey writes about many cities that were beginning to form their cities by using a Moses approach. Cities began to be very development heavy, and those with the power began to forget about the importance of community. Harvey writes about a case in India, “where the special economic development zones policy now favored by central governments, leading to violence against agricultural producers, and only being interested in urban property and industrial development” P. 12 (Harvey, 2008). I think as Landscape Architect’s it is important to look at the ideas of both Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs. Moses and Jacobs fought hard for what they believed would create better cities. Robert Moses believed that big interstates throughout the cities would help to create more efficient circulation within the city. While Jane Jacobs focused on the communities within the city fabric and how they would be affected; her goal was to protect their homes and public spaces that were in harm’s way. We as designers need to focus on how we can benefit local communities, as well as create cities that are able to grow with the continual population growth. These cities should also focus on sustainability and how we can lower the amount of carbon emissions that are going into our atmosphere. Climate change has already began to take a toll on many areas of the world, so it is important to begin to take initiative on creating a greener environment, that will continue to benefit our climate and future cities.

    Harvey, David. “The Right to the City.” The Emancipatory City?: Paradoxes and Possibilities: 236-39. doi:10.4135/9781446221365.n15.

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  3. Both Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses wanted their city to improve and make progress. Moses believed that this progress was through transportation, and infrastructure to make the city more efficient. The economy is an important aspect of any city, generating capital is how they expand, evolve, and improve over time. Moses saw this and aimed to expand that capital as much as possible, destroying many aspects of city life for the sake of economical growth and the privatization of neighborhoods. This modernization is something that was being implemented into almost every major city at the time. Instead of small streets where neighbors can interact and potentially cause trouble, Moses created giant traffic arteries dominated by private vehicles focused on creating more capital. Harvey emphasizes this, stating that “It also altered the political landscape as subsidized homeownership for the middle changed the focus of community action towards the defense of property values and individualized identities.” (Harvey, pg. 5) Moses only saw economic gain and lost sight of how the people were really being affected by everything he was changing.

    On the other hand, Jane Jacobs became a representative for the people because she saw the injustice happening in the neighborhoods in New York City. The traditional way of life for many citizens was at stake as well as many historic and cultural aspects of the city. Jacobs wanted to see the history, culture, and dynamism of the urban streets to stay as they are to preserve the sense of community and social capital in the city. The scale at which the city functioned was within small communities, not through grandiose constructs that divided and marginalized every community into the new idea of prosperity that Moses sought. The identity of the city and of its communities was more important than economical gain, and Jacobs rallied people toward preserving their identities in the face of a looming threat of highways and modernization.

    Planners and designers should understand both sides of this conflict: not just the efficiency and economy of a city but also the social and community aspects that are present in all communities. This conflict is the epitome of how the economic gain of modernization and urban expansion can blindly destroy the real functions of a city. Harvey restates that “This most recent radical expansion of the urban process has brought with it incredible transformation of lifestyle. Quality of urban life has become a commodity for those with money, as has the city itself in a world where consumerism, tourism, cultural and knowledge-based industries have become major aspects of urban political economy.” Social injustice come in many forms, and it was prominent in this conflict a way to transform the city life into the “ideal” environment for middle- and higher-class people who could afford their own vehicles and houses and displaces those seen as inefficient for the city. People become divided in this way of living and generates unrest between people, as Harvey states “we also increasingly live in divided, fragmented and conflict-prone cities. How we view the world and define possibilities depend on which side of the tracks we are on and to what kinds of consumerism we have access to.” All aspects of urban life are important, but focusing on one such as economy or private ownership is detrimental to all other factors that make a city function.Community identity is a fragile construct, and we need to understand how it functions and how to preserve it while still pushing our cities into a more prosperous future.

    Harvey, David. “The Right to the City.” The Emancipatory City?: Paradoxes and Possibilities: 236-39. doi:10.4135/9781446221365.n15.

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  4. Without the fight of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs, our cities could have been very different today. Because their ideas of the city were drastically different, and they chose to advocate for what they believe in, opinions were shared and it brought all types of people together.

    Robert Moses’ wanted the city to become a booming urbanized, fast-paced concept. In the film, Jacob vs Moses: An Urban Fight, Moses said that “Cities are created by and for traffic.” He wanted to implement major veins of transport infrastructure throughout the city. In doing this he believed the city could be this large, grand scaled system that provided large amounts of economic benefits. “Robert Moses…did to the whole New York metropolitan region what Haussmann had done in Paris. That is, Moses changed the scale of thinking about the urban process and through the system of (debt-financed) highways and infrastructural transformations, through suburbanization and through the total re-engineering…” (Harvey, p.5). But what Moses was really doing was presenting ideas that were unacceptable for the lifestyle for the people living within New York. His plans would have destroyed low-income and minority neighborhoods and created a capitalist hub. As Harvey said, “…[we] live in divided, fragmented and conflict-prone cities. How we view the world and define possibilities depends on which side of the tracks we are on and to what kind of consumerism we have access to (Harvey, p.9). Not only would Moses’ highways increase the divide socially but also physically, creating a separation between places and people.

    Jane Jacobs on the otherhand, believe in people having their own rights to their environments. Cities to Jacobs meant being able to walk to work, having unique neighborhoods, short blocks, “eyes on the street” and mixed-use development within the blocks so that there could be a variety of people, jobs, and population density. Because of Jacobs, people within the city of New York had a voice. Although her passion was writing, Jacobs stood up for what was right, and was also an activist. This speaks words to who she was and supports the reason people of the city saw her as a leader and therefore readily and willingly followed her during protests.

    Because of the conflicts between Moses and Jacobs, as city planners and even landscape architects we can start to understand the power of people as well as capitalism and government. Although, this fight could have been a typical top-down scenario where money wins, the people won instead. On page 1 Harvey writes, “…what kind of city we want cannot be divorced form the question of what kind of people we want to be, wat kinds of social relations we seek, what relations to nature we cherish, what type of daily life we dire, what kinds of technologies we deem appropriate, what aesthetics values we hold.” As future planners and designers we need to remember this. There cannot be a balance if there is already an imbalance between money/power and the citizens. “The freedom to make and remake ourselves and our cities is, I want to argue, one of the most precious yet most neglected of our human rights” (Harvey p.2). Like Jane Jacobs, we need to advocate for what is right, what are rights are, and for our passions for public space, neighborhoods, community development and on a global scale, the way we view our planet. Change cannot happen if we do not use our voices persistently and in unification. Like Harvey wrote, “We have, however, yet to see a coherent oppositional movement to all of this [protection of the city] in the twenty-first century. There are multitudes of diverse social movements focusing on the urban question but …they have yet to converge on the singular aim of gaining greater control over the surplus…” (Harvey p.14). Because if we don’t speak our opinion, “…man’s most successful attempt to remake the world he lives in more after his heart’s desire. But, if the city is the world which man created, it is the world in which he is henceforth condemned to live. Thus, indirectly, and without any clear sense of the nature of his task, in making the city man has remade himself” (Harvey p.1).

    Harvey, David. 2008. “The Right to the City. New Left Review. Accessed September 30, 2018.

    Burns, Ric. PBS Documentary. 2012. “Jane Jacobs vs Robert Moses: Urban Fight of the Century.” Accessed September 30, 2018.

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  5. Robert Moses was a parks commissioner and public official, also known as the “master builder”, who is credited for the urbanization of the greater New York area, through his visions and implementation of infrastructure development, and the introduction of parks, parkways, public beaches, pools, bridges, roads, and grand vehicular expressways in 20th century America (Papacosma 2008). He believed that “cities are created by and for traffic,” and without automobiles, cities turn into ghost towns (Graham n.d.). He wanted to see the city become a “vibrant cultural, political and recreational capital during an era of post-war suburbanization.” (Papacosma 2008) For his large-scale approaches to city planning, he has been compared to Baron Haussman, who utilized surplus capital in Paris by redesigning whole neighborhoods, annexing suburbs and re-envisioning the urban fabric at a grand scale (Harvey 2003).

    Robert Moses viewed the city regionally and thus advocated for urban renewal, with plans of clearing slums and introducing grand roads and expressways in the city. According to David Harvey, Robert Moses’ brutal modernism increased suburbanization and a change in lifestyle that depended on roads, cars, refrigerators, and air conditioners, creating a culture of the automobile (Harvey 2003). He also advocated for parks, claiming that they were “the most significant single contribution to intelligent city planning.” (Papacosma 2008) Although Robert Moses shaped the urban fabric of the New York City area, he failed to consider important intrinsic elements that tied the city together: streets and neighborhoods. His proposal of an 8-lane expressway in lower Manhattan would fragment the city, destroy historic structures and displace thousands of people, many of whom were low-income residents. David Harvey has pointed out that Moses could not displace affluent neighborhoods because high-income people could pay to refuse to give up their assets (Harvey 2003). Moses’ plans were widely criticized by the neighborhood residents, who believed in a more traditionalist approach to planning, and revolted against Moses’ plans; this rebellion was led by journalist, author and social activist, Jane Jacobs.

    Jane Jacobs believed that Moses’ approach was an “attack on city planning.” (Graham n.d.) She believed that building grand expressways would fragment neighborhoods and communities, degrading their continuity. As opposed to Robert Moses’ grand moves, her vision for the city was on a more intrinsic scale, encompassing the smaller city units: the city blocks. David Harvey describes her vision to comprise of a “localized neighborhood aesthetic.” (Harvey 2003) Jacobs considered cities to have a dynamic organized complexity with interdependent functions of the urban economy (Graham n.d.). Thus she was against Moses’ plans of utilizing the capital surplus for expressways, since that could cause social stratification. Jane Jacobs understood the importance of streets and the interactions that go on in them: the street was a place where neighbors could meet and get to know each other, and children could play on the sidewalks, and a mix of uses such as retail and residential could help people connect better to the neighborhoods. Her “eyes on the street” concept states that people will look out for each other on streets (Hancock 2016). As opposed to the suburbanization brought on by the grand automobile infrastructure of Robert Moses, Jane Jacobs believed in density, and unified social and economic diversity of people. Her vision of the city incorporated sharing public spaces, public transit, and various economic classes living in harmony. She fought for the minority social groups. Thus, when the time came, the residents of the city neighborhoods rallied beside her and stopped Robert Moses’ plans of the urban expressway in lower Manhattan.

    This battle between Moses and Jacobs many valuable lessons in urban planning, even today. The dispute between suburbanization and increased density is still existent, with many US towns and cities being largely automobile dependent, and lacking the interactions that dense mixed-used neighborhoods have. While arteries and expressways are important in creating connections on a larger scale, streets create connections between people and place. Thus large-scale infrastructure development needs to be strategically planned, without disrupting the lives and livelihood of the people. Street amenities such as sidewalks, bike lanes, crosswalks, and neighborhood green spaces are important considerations in urban planning. Jane Jacobs’ success was because of her ability to “organize, get publicity, mobilize troops, and form coalitions,” (Graham n.d.) which is an important lesson for city officials to include participation of the communities in decision-making. David Harvey observes the need for greater democratic control over the use of capital surplus in urbanization (Harvey 2003). The revolution by Jane Jacobs and her team of traditionalists was an example of people trying to get greater control over the urban process and fighting to retain their right to the city. This struggle is dragged on into the 21st century. The urbanization process is being privatized by people (and institutions) with the financial and political power to exercise control. To prevent this monopoly of the elite in city planning, Harvey thinks we need to have democracy in the right to the city and a broad social movement to enforce its will. Learning from the struggle between Jacobs and Moses, I think such city planning decisions mandate participation from the communities that will be living the outcomes.

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  6. Robert Moses was one of New York’s first influencers on the urban fabric and how vehicles interface with this fabric. Moses argued for the automobile and was very suborn almost naive to the repercussions of introducing vehicular at such high volume into such a dense metropolis as New York. He envisioned a “connected” city and looked to New York as first and foremost a transportation problem. This mentality caused him to tend to continue and be adamant for less fruitful ideas that weren’t necessary to improve the function of a city, which is unfortunate in hindsight because of the influence he had as an urban developer in adapting New York for the modern era. He is quoted for saying outlandish things like cities are solely created for traffic, and streets without traffic eventually envelope cities and turn them to ghost towns. Other character flaws that blighted Moses career were his views of minorities and the less fortunate population, areas in which people fell in either of these categories he often targeted for his projects.
    Jane Jacobs was an active mother, journalist, author and activities, one of her most notable publications is The Dead and Life of Great American Cities, in which she is quoted saying, “Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” This mentally speaks values about her priorities in an urban environment and personal convictions in life. She focuses on the ideals of the population as it relates to density and mixed uses, old building, and variety of uses within neighborhoods and city districts. She places a high emphasis on the concept of people being the biggest proponent of public safety. The increase in eyes on the street and sidewalk by nature makes it a safer place, and the buildings and homes in proximity to these pedestrian corridors are crucial to the function of the streetscape. She also argues for greater diversity in living conditions, people, income levels, tasks and uses of the city and how this unconscious interaction of mixed individuals in poetic.
    The conflict between Jacobs and Moses arose from the proposal Moses had to extend the vehicular expressways into the heart of New York City. The expressway wasn’t as much an issue as the reasons he felt justified its construction and his views of those he was displacing. Not to mention the numerous historically significant building and other priceless structures that he proposed to be demolished for the implementation of the project. Jane Jacobs questioned the logic behind generally accepted theories and principles applied to urban planning and development and didn’t see how New York would be improved by the construction of such a monolithic addition to the city’s infrastructure. Rather felt very strongly about the negative impacts it had on the existing communities and neighborhoods that were currently found in an area the area the expressway was being proposed. Her information was based on observations on-site and in these deeply established social networks that had developed organically and had a personality of their own as well as through the experimentation of what things could improve the intercity and dense urban streets for the betterment of the future.
    The lessons learned that would directly benefit future planner and city mayors would first and foremost be to have a basic understanding of the situations discussed between Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses. I would strongly encourage them to read them, The Dead and Life of Great American Cities, and get the full sense of what Jane was trying to promote within communities and neighborhoods. Another aspect of Janes philosophy, that would benefit future influencers of communities is physical observations, analysis, and inventory of the places they are entrusted with. This sort of grassroots and from the ground up that is most impactful on the community. This also helps to ensure the controlled cause found within dense and mixed communities and ensure the culture found in these areas is prioritized. In closing, I would champion anyone who in a position to have a direct impact on someone else’s daily life to attempt to spend one in their shoes or as close to as possible and realize the potential impact you will have whether its truly for the betterment of that community or not.

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  7. Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs were two very influential figures in the development of cities in post World War II era into the rising conflict of the Cold War. Moses rose to prominence after publishing a “lengthy evaluation of Haussmann’s efforts in an architectural journal” (5). It effectively details what Haussmann had done in Paris and examined his mistakes, but ultimately wanted the European planner to be known “one of the greatest urbanists of all time” (5). Similarly to Haussmann, Moses also looked at changing the scale of thinking, specifically around the New York City area. Through the creation of debt-financed highways and infrastructural construction and large-scale suburbanization of whole metropolitan regions, he sought to mitigate the “surplus product and thereby helped resolve the capital surplus absorption problem” (5). Moses was ultra-focused on creating financial gain and spurring economic development in the area, this developed created a new way of life, altered the political landscape, and played a “crucial role in the stabilization of global capitalism after World War II” (5). However, Moses’ plans regularly limited and exiled minority populations in processes of eminent domain, leading to the revolts. The social and ethical values of Moses’ proposals, though largely ignored by the man himself, were embraced by traditionalists and led by Jane Jacobs, who sought “counter the brutal modernism of Moses’ projects with a localized neighborhood aesthetic. Opposite of Moses these people are against suburbanization form its consequences of social interaction and destruction of traditional neighborhoods in favor new business, housing, and overall development that favors economic gain instead of social cohesion and preservation through loss of public space. Jacobs and her supporters value diversity and mixed-use space and did incredible work that lead to the preservation of iconic buildings and neighborhoods that would have otherwise been destroyed from the greedy totality of Moses’ proposed highway/transportation-centric development.

    Harvey, throughout this reading, heavily expresses his interest in the connection between the economic power of capitalism and its influence on social divide and urban planning. He cites the “history of the politics of McCarthyism and the Cold War” that lead to political repression and capital surplus problem, and was subsequently accompanied by social protests following implementations by Robert Moses (5). Throughout the reading, Harvey does a good job of analyzing the reasoning behind Moses’ thinking but ultimately disregards this urbanization as harmful to social groups and a non-idealistic path to efficient urban planning. He expresses his disdain for the government’s acquisition of land, talks about how easily slums can be taken over (sometimes violently), with often times little compensation, in order to leave the land to developers– something that can be seen in the United States as an “abuse of rights of eminent domain to displace long-term residents” (11). Harvey says, “Urbanization we may conclude has played a crucial role in the absorption of capital surpluses and has done so at every increasing geographical scales, but the price of burgeoning process of creative destruction that entails the dispossession of the urban masses of any right to the city whatsoever”. While I think that Harvey acknowledges the successes of Moses’ approach for aiding economic growth, Harvey expresses that “the answer is bound to be much more complex precisely because the urban process is now global in scope…the political signs suggest that most of the population is saying ‘enough is enough’” (12) Harvey believes that future development should be control by democratic and public interest instead of private ones, and that the diverse social moments look at urban development should c”converge on a singular aim of gaining greater control over the uses of the surplus” (14). Finally, Harvey stating that “democratization of the right to the city and the construction of a broad social movement to enforce its will is imperative”, submits his ideas against a limited and elite control of development, and is his final advice for future development (14). Though I am not sure of how this will play out in the future of how it would be effectively used as an implementation tool, I think this is a good balance to mitigating the ideas proposed by Moses and allowing the social issues to be prominent from the work of Jane Jacobs. I think that preserving neighborhoods is a very important key to saving the character and the uniqueness of what defines cities, and if we compromise this for solely hierarchical economic gain then cities will be stripped of what they are known and special for.

    Harvey, David. 2008. “The Right to the City. New Left Review. Accessed September 30, 2018.

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  8. Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs had a very clear vision for urbanizing major U.S. cities. In my opinion it seemed like Moses was geared towards the urbanization of cities, or what he thought was urbanization, and Jacobs was geared towards the peoples best interests. Moses believed that the way to advance the city was through transportation. Specifically through major highways and infrastructure that would go through the core of the city to make it more efficient. He had similar thoughts to that of Haussamann. “…urban process and through the system of (debt-financed) highways and infrastructural transformations, through suburbanization and through the total re-engineering…” (Harvey, pg. 5). Moses wasn’t only thinking about the change of the city core, but he was also interested in the change of the metropolitan area. Moses did not take peoples lives in to consideration when he proposed this idea for New York City. Low income residents would have been displaced and the economy would of changed dramatically. I believe that Moses judgement began to become clouded by the financial gain.

    Jane Jacobs fought for the people who would have lost their homes and business. She became the voice for these people and by doing so, she gained a large following that backed her up. This following made the issue more known and began to shine light on the issue. The areas that were considered slums are still important part of the urban fabric. Each area has their own form of identity that play a larger role into the urban fabric. She fought to keep these identities present and creates and pedestrian friendly environment that didn’t include major vehicular traffic.

    While I believe that Moses thought he was in the right, he wasn’t. As a designer we are taught to promote the well-being, health, and safety of the public. What Moses was doing was promoting mass displacement and larger infrastructure that would change the dynamic of the city forever. Because of Jacobs the uniqueness of New York has stayed intact. But in reality we cannot choose one type of view over the other. We need to take the two and find a way to merge them together to build a better city. Harvey discusses how the urban process has gone global. We see places like Spain and Britain paralleling the United States (pg. 7). The balance that needs to take place is now involving all different kinds of infrastructure such as damns and highways, all debt financed, are changing the landscape (pg. 7). The urban growth depends on the development of financial institutions and arrangements the require credit to sustain it (pg. 7). The role of debt has played a crucial role in the urbanization of cities and it seems dangerous. We live in society where debt is okay and welcomed, because without it you may not own a home, car, or have a college degree. As urban growth transforms and develops we see a change in lifestyle. “Quality of urban life has become a commodity for those with money, as has the city itself in a world where consumerism, tourism, and cultural knowledge-based industries have become major aspects of urban political economy” (pg. 8). The city should not be geared only towards the wealthy but also the middle and lower class. Cities are seen as a melting pot of people. In my opinion we see that in terms of ethnicity versus ethnicity AND class. I believe urbanization is important in cities like Moses wanted, but not to the extreme. I also agree with Jacobs on protecting the areas that are middle to lower class because they enhance the diversity of the city. It is really important to create a blend of the tow to create a successful urban city.

    Harvey, David. “The Right to the City.” The Emancipatory City?: Paradoxes and Possibilities: 236-39. doi:10.4135/9781446221365.n15.

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  9. While the two only met a handful of times, Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs are remembered for their famous fight over the urban fabric of New York city. Moses was a politician and was known as a “master builder” because of his many civil projects. He planned to build an expressway that would cut through lower Manhattan and displace thousands of people. The road would additionally divide Greenwich Village, a culturally and historically significant neighborhood. Jacobs, a resident of Greenwich Village, wrote a book called The Death and Life of Great American Cities that shared her knowledge on how cities function. Because of this book and her fearless attitude, Jacobs became a leader for the people who were already unhappy about the expressway that would ruin their neighborhood. In simplified terms, the fight was a classic underdog story: the people fighting for the right to have a say in what was done to them.

    Robert Moses had very strong ideas about what was best for the city of New York. Five of these characteristics are: favoring private vehicles over public transportation, creating parks, having an idealistic vision, making big moves and getting things done quickly. He believed that it was best to focus on vehicular circulation at the expense of public transportation. His plans included many expressways that were intended to move cars more efficiently. Moses was also a fan of implementing parks throughout the city. While this idea might seem beneficial at face value, Jacobs criticised the building of parks that were single use and did more harm than good by allowing vagabonds a place to gather. Moses also had an affinity for Idealistic visions like the Garden City movement. His designs favored a decentralized unit with ideal communities in a suburb-like setting. To Jacobs, this type of idealism was naive utopia thinking. Moses also valued getting things done fast. He completed hundreds of projects over his lifetime and believed that if he could start a project, the funding would follow. His ability to get his ideas on the ground as fast as possible is admirable even if it was harmful in some instances. All in all, Robert Moses was a man who got many things accomplished. Whether the bulk of his work was harmful to New York is debated, but it is clear that without the leadership and knowledge of Jane Jacobs, the city would be a different place.

    Jane Jacobs, had equally strong and opposing opinions about the ingredients to make a successful city. Five of her core values, which were formed by her personal observations of daily life, were: having eyes on the street, diversity, social capital, practicality, and slow change. Her conception of eyes on the street refers to the safety that is created when many people are watching the streets at all times. In order for this phenomena to take place, people must have reasons to be on the street, whether it be the street where they live, shop, work, play or socialize. She recommended designing for people first and then the automobile. This idea was in direct contradiction of Moses’ expressway design, which would have created a place for cars only. This ties in with another value of hers which was fostering diversity on city streets. She encouraged diversity of uses, sizes and ages of buildings, and users. She wrote that a city street is more safe when there are people on it, and to get people on the street at all times of the day, there must be a reason for them to be there. Jacobs also advocated for the importance of social capital, which is the trust and equality that neighbors and neighborhoods show each other. This social capital is only formed when people are given the chance to interact informally. Jacobs had a knack for understanding practicality as well. She gives advice about urban renewal that she knows will work because she’s seen it work before. Additionally, Jacobs understood that successful change in a city is a slow, gradual force. Change cannot be forced all at once by tearing down neighborhoods in an idealistic dream. This is the thing that breaks cities down. In the end, Jacobs’ level-headed leadership helped protect lower Manhattan from Moses’ hasty decision.

    By looking at the ideals of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs, it is clear to see why they did not get along. Nothing about their world views are compatible. However, their conflict of interests is still alive in other cities today. City planners still make rash decisions and people still fight them. In the future, we would be wise to take the more practical approach. While grand gestures and big plans look better, are they really helping cities? Time-honored solutions that actually improve the lives of people living in the city should be trusted before new-fangled ideas. Mayors and city planners should read Jacobs’ book and never forget who it is that will feel the effects of their decisions.

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  10. Robert Moses’ goals:
    1. Impalement a system of debt-financed highways (Harvy 5)
    2. Promote Suburbanization (Harvy 5)
    3. Build an extensive system of parks and other public amenities, that are connected by a series of expressways.
    4. Slum clearance
    5. Public housing projects
    Jane Jacobs Goal:
    1. Promote a localized neighborhood aesthetic (Harvy 5)
    2. Prevent Gentrafacation
    3. Stop the displacement of people to build new highways through the city
    4. Preserve the urban fabric (Harvy 5)
    5. Continue to rely on the communities established networks of social integration
    Robert Moses was one of if not the most power planners in the history of urban design. He held many positions at the city and state level in New York and used these positions to help push through his ideas for the city, which were strongly inspired by Barron Hausman’s reconstruction of Paris. Moses was a strong believer that in order to improve cities they need to rip our much of the existing infrastructure and replace it with newer and better solutions. He used his positions to implement large scale bridge construction projects which generated revenue that he used to construct many other projects. In the process of all of this building Moses destroyed much of the dense urban fabric of the city and displaced many of its residents. But because of his position of authority and his many ties to the political elite in New York he was able to continue through with his goals with little opposition.
    Moses finally ran into some opposition when he started communicating his plan to construct a highway that ran through lower Manhattans, Greenwich Village, which would effectively destroy the neighborhood. Once the plan for the new highway was introduced a group of citizens began to advocate against this project. The group was led by Jane Jacobs, a longtime resident of the neighborhood, and career writer who found success in writing about architecture and the design of cities. Jacobs became an advocate for the people of the neighborhood and the preservation of the areas livability. She organized community members to fight in opposition of the new highway and wrote letters to politicians who had some influence in the process. She also became communicated with the local media, expressing her displeasure with the project. Although the movement was gaining some steam Moses continued to act like Jacobs and her followers did not exist. To further her argument Jacob’s began to write about the correct way to design and revitalize cities through a series of articles, and eventually in her book “The Life and Death of American Cities,” which became her most famous work.
    Jacobs continued her fight against the top down tactics of Moses by continuing to point out the many sneaky and illegal things that he was doing to try and get the project built. The more he tried to bend the rules the more people began to support Jacobs and her fight to stop the project. She lead demonstrations and protests, and attended many public meetings. At one of the public meetings her and her supporters even stormed the stenographer and tore up the record of the meeting because the officials were not listing to the public. Jacobs was put in jail but released soon after. Eventually Jacobs efforts proved successful, and the project had lost so much stem that it was abandoned.
    Jane Jacobs and her relentless pursuit of justice for her community is a good example of how people can make a difference if they unite for a common cause. Her and her community members worked together to change something that they believed in and they were able to make defeat someone who had both political power and financial backing.
    This is also a good example of how important it is important to make sure that one person does not get too much power, or if they do have that much power that they are using it responsibly. Planning of cities should be a participatory process, that way people can have a say in what is happening in their communities. The government should never be able to classify a place as a slum without doing the research and including the community into the process.
    Thankfully there are people like Jane Jacobs out there to advocate for what is right, and for the people who are living in the areas that are being redeveloped.

    Harvey, David. “The Right to the City.” The Emancipatory City?: Paradoxes and Possibilities: 236-239

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