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Whose Side in the Housing Wars Would Jane Jacobs Take Up Today?

The renowned urbanist allegedly wrote a protest song against Robert Moses with Bob Dylan. She might not sing the same tune about preservation today.
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Library of Congress

Of all the ways to celebrate a centenary, announcing a collab with Bob Dylan might be the tops. Days before Wednesday’s Google Doodle marked the 100th anniversary of Jane Jacobs’s birthday, her son confirmed with The Globe and Mail that mom co-wrote a song with Dylan to protest Robert Moses’ plans for Lower Manhattan. But of course she did.

No planner is so revered—well, that’s a silly thing to say, since no other urbanist comes close to boasting the household-name status that Jacobs enjoys. Her battles with Moses in New York over urban renewal, and her advocacy for a city scaled to the person on the street, made her famous. They earned her not just acclaim but a philosopher’s eminence in the public sphere.