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Jane Jacobs (1916–2006) is among the most influential writers on cities in the twentieth century, both in the academic and popular spheres. Many of her most powerful ideas can be found in her first book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, published in 1961. She argued powerfully against urban renewal projects of the mid-twentieth century and was a proponent of preserving the social and cultural life of neighborhoods. Jacobs was also an activist who played a pivotal role in protecting areas like New York City's West Village and SoHo from a variety of threats, paving the way for their eventual designation as historic preservation districts. Jacobs's goal was not simply preserving a neighborhood's buildings but rather sustaining the mix of people and activities ...

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