Jane Jacobs, (1916-2006) was an urban writer and activist who championed new, community-based approaches to planning for over 40 years. Her 1961 thesis, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, became arguably the most influential American text about the inner workings and failings of cities, inspiring generations of urban planners and activists. Her vision of urban possibility is embodied in the following quote:
“Dull, inert cities, it is true, do contain the seeds of their own destruction and little else. But lively, diverse, intense cities contain the seeds of their own regeneration, with energy enough to carry over for problems and needs outside themselves.”
Taking from Jacobs’s vision, the aim of this project is to enliven the alley so that it too can house the seeds of its own regeneration. I’ve learned from her writings that urban is good, it puts people on top each other. It is up to us to establish balance and a steady way of living.
Mark Lakeman is the co-founder of the non-profit placemaking organization The City Repair Project in Portland, Oregon and principal of the community architecture and planning firm Communitecture. He was my Capstone advisor at Antioch University. I also consider him a mentor. His feedback and suggestions such as below, encouraged me and inspired my placemaking ideas for the alley.
Mark is also an urban place-maker and permaculture designer, community design facilitator, and an inspiring catalyst in his very active commitment to the emergence of sustainable cultural landscapes everywhere. Every design project he is involved with furthers the development of a beneficial vision for human and ecological communities.
Jason Roberts. In 2010, Jason organized a series of “Better Block” projects, taking blighted blocks with vacant properties in Southern Dallas and converting them into temporary walkable districts with pop-up businesses, bike lanes, cafe seating, and landscaping. The project has now become an international movement and has been featured in the New York Times, Dwell magazine, TED Talks and on NPR. Team Better Block was showcased in the US Pavilion at the 2012 Venice Biennale.