Jane Jacobs’ Revenge

In the midst of all the hype about, reconsideration of and admiration for Robert Moses comes news from the other side: The Municipal Art Society will hold an exhibit this September about his polar opposite, ur-urbanist Jane Jacobs, in conjunction with a new $200,000 prize that the Rockefeller Foundation will fund. The annual prize has been dubbed the Jane Jacobs Medal.

MAS President Kent Barwick couldn’t say whether it would be as large as the Moses ones now under way in three separate venues (Jacobs would be the first to say that size doesn’t matter), but he will certainly feel the pressure to make it as good.

“It was a complete coincidence that we are doing this at the time that the Moses shows are going on, but a great coincidence,” Mr. Barwick told The Real Estate. “We are really enjoying the opportunity to work with scholars and revisit Jane Jacobs and to look at her with fresh eyes. This is not so much to weigh in against Bob Moses.”

Asked for his own opinion of Moses, Mr. Barwick said, “That’s like saying, ‘How do you like the Himalayan Mountains?’ It is a very big subject.”

- Matthew Schuerman