banner.clc.a.1.jpg
91YrHN+AFuL.jpg
urbanecologynetworkslider.v2.jpg
jj walk.clcbanner.jpg
youthcityspeak.slider.website.jpg
Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 10.02.55 PM.png
P1010046.jpg
banner.clc.a.1.jpg

Current Work


Our purpose is to enhance the understanding of the complexity of contemporary urban life and through it, promote increased civic engagement among people who care deeply for their communities.

SCROLL DOWN

Current Work


Our purpose is to enhance the understanding of the complexity of contemporary urban life and through it, promote increased civic engagement among people who care deeply for their communities.

 
 
 
 

The Center’s programming includes publishing What We See: Advancing the Observations of Jane Jacobs and sponsoring Jane Jacobs Walk, self-organized walking tours throughout the world. The Center for the Living City also sponsors symposia, exhibitions, fellowships, workshops and other community events.

 

About

Find out about our organization, mission, our methods, and the results of our advocacy toward just communities.

Learn More →

Center Programs

We work to advance the observations of Jane Jacobs. See what the Center is up to and how you can become involved.

Take a Look →

91YrHN+AFuL.jpg

Urban Acupuncture


Celebrating pinpricks of change that enrich city life

SCROLL DOWN

Urban Acupuncture


Celebrating pinpricks of change that enrich city life

final.VERTICAL urbanac.tour.jpg

For media and tour inquiries, please contact Chelsea Gauthier at chelsea[at]centerforthelivingcity.org  



NEWS RELEASE

CONTACTS:

Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, Knight Foundation, 305-908-2677, media@knightfoundation.org

Stephen A. Goldsmith, Director, The Center for the Living City, stephen@centerforthelivingcity.org

 

Center for the Living City to develop English translation of ‘Urban Acupuncture,’ book by Jaime Lerner, former mayor of Curitiba, Brazil, as guide for community transformation 

 

Knight Foundation invests $100,000 to bring Lerner’s lessons on small-scale, quick interventions to U.S. communities

 

MIAMI—April 24, 2014—The English edition of Jaime Lerner’s “Urban Acupuncture” will debut this fall as a guide for civic leaders to tackle community challenges with quick, innovative solutions. The effort is a partnership between the Center for the Living City and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which is investing $100,000 to bring Lerner’s book to the United States. 

 

Cities often get stuck when faced with costly solutions to everyday problems. Jaime Lerner used creativity and a small budget to create sustainable solutions when he was mayor of Curitiba, Brazil. Lerner captured these approaches and ideas in his book “Urban Acupuncture,” which was published in Portuguese in 2003. The term comes from the idea of targeted, sometimes short-term, interventions that tackle a design, economic or social challenge, in most cases with immediate results. An urban acupuncture solution could involve instituting a low-cost rapid-bus system that addresses pollution and transit issues, as Lerner did in Curitiba, or creating pop-up parks and temporary pedestrian malls to add to city vitality. Lerner’s solutions emphasize the need for urban designs that do not separate the places people live from where they work, play and carry out their daily lives.

With Knight funding, the Center for the Living City will work with Island Press to bring these lessons to the United States—inspiring cities to invest in meaningful, small-scale interventions that spark community transformation. The book will raise awareness of successful city-building practices that are still unknown to many policymakers, activists and professionals, including architects, planners, landscape architects and civil engineers.

“I see cities not as problems, but as solutions. I would argue that any city, willingly, can be transformed for the better in a relatively short period of time, provided that we embrace a more generous approach to them,” said Lerner.

“Lerner has built a proven strategy for fast, effective innovations that can result in big changes for cities—allowing people to shape the places they live in,” said Carol Coletta, Knight Foundation vice president for community and national initiatives. “By making these lessons available to the English-speaking world, we can inspire others to invest in urban acupuncture in their communities.”

“One of the challenges we face in cities today is a perception that the problems of our time are too big to manage,” said Stephen A. Goldsmith, director of the Center for the Living City. “What Jaime offers communities is evidence that we can make small interventions that matter; that we have the creativity to restore our places now and not get mired in our own bureaucracy.”

The initial run of “Urban Acupuncture” will include both hardcover and e-book editions. The book will also include new illustrations and original drawings by Lerner. Lerner will undertake an eight-city book tour timed with the launch of “Urban Acupuncture,” starting in Miami in October 2014.

For more information please visit: centerforthelivingcity.org

 

About the Center for the Living City

The Center for the Living City was founded in 2006 with the support of urbanist, activist and author Jane Jacobs.  In the spirit of Jacobs’ work, the Center’s purpose is to enhance the understanding of the complexity of contemporary urban life and through it, promote increased civic engagement among people who care deeply for their communities. 

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. www.knightfoundation.org

Pinpointing Areas of Change in Cities for Big Impact

urbanecologynetworkslider.v2.jpg

Urban Ecology Network


The Network distributes news, tools, and inspiration, focused through the lens of urban ecology.

SCROLL DOWN

Urban Ecology Network


The Network distributes news, tools, and inspiration, focused through the lens of urban ecology.

"To return to the treasure hunt that began with the streets and one thing leading to another and another: at some point along the trail I realized I was engaged in studying the ecology of cities. Offhand, this sounds like taking note that raccoons nourish themselves from city backyard gardens and garbage bags (in my own city they do, sometimes even downtown), that hawks can possibly reduce pigeon populations among skyscrapers, and so on. But by city ecology I mean something different from, yet similar to, natural ecology as students of wilderness address the subject. A natural ecosystem is defined as ‘composed of physical-chemical-biological processes active within a space-time unit of any magnitude.’ A city ecosystem is composed of physical-economic-ethical processes active at a given time within a city and its close dependencies. I’ve made up this definition, by analogy."

Jane Jacobs, Modern Library edition, Death and Life of Great American Cities


Urban Ecology Network

Human and natural resilience needs an integrative framework that fosters a restorative urbanism. Through the emerging planning paradigm called urban ecology, practitioners in the fields of conserving, managing and building human settlements will understand the physiology of places, the complex interconnected systems that are essential for avoiding the tragic, unintended consequences of so many planning efforts. As defined by The Center, urban ecology is the study of the relationships among all living organisms and the systems that connect them.

To effectively bridge our challenges into opportunities the Center has created an online, open source portal designed to provide spaces for sharing ideas and tools to assist in finding holistic and innovative solutions for advancing just communities. This portal, The Urban Ecology Network, distributes news, tools, and inspiration, focused through the lens of urban ecology. The Network connects ideas and resources from service organizations and individuals worldwide to catalyze learning, problem solving, and action. Through a host of mediums we deliver inspiring stories that illuminate the evolution of our knowledge of those social, environmental, and economic systems. From diverse practitioners in the field who advocate for the health of global environments, The Network provides people with an equal opportunity to understand their roles and relationships in the built and natural world, and explore avenues for restorative action.

Planning Paradigm. The Network invites people to join in a new way of thinking; to think like an ecosystem. This new initiative is part of the continuum of our work to foster socially equitable, environmentally just, and economically thriving places. The work of the Center has already bridged over barriers by successfully changing the University of Utah’s Undergraduate Planning program to an Urban Ecology program. In the same way that we helped develop the conference titled Toward a Just Metropolis at UC Berkeley in 2010, The Urban Ecology Network advocates sensibility, responsibility, and action. 

Target Audiences. The Network values the importance of investing in the multigenerational potential to work toward Earth's collective health. The targeted audiences of the Urban Ecology Network are multigenerational populations, practitioners and service organizations. By bridging the gaps between people in particular fields and generations, The Network provides an integrative environment to learn, collaborate and take action, which strengthens community bonds.

Network Design. To effectively display the integrative and multigenerational nature within the Urban Ecology Network, visual indices display numerous pages and tools relating to social justice, environmental justice and economic vitality within our cities and environments. The indices provide a working framework for systems thinking and transformational learning in order to effectively tackle projects for social, environmental and economic health and resilience within our communities.

To continue building upon the interconnected and interdependent nature of urban ecology, The Network will invest in developing a visual web of material for the site. The ultimate goal is to create an interactive visualization tool that reveals an integrative approach towards bridging values and action within the social, environmental and economic systems of cities, and foster a resilient and culturally thriving environment. 

The Urban Ecology Network is currently in its beta phase. Please feel free to send any feedback or ideas to help us continue to refine the site. 

 

jj walk.clcbanner.jpg

Jane Jacobs Walk


SCROLL DOWN

Jane Jacobs Walk


Jane Jacobs Walk is a program of the Center for the Living City. We celebrate her life and legacy by inviting people to organize walks in their communities throughout the year.

Jane Jacobs Walk in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Photo Credit: Camila Selva Cabral

 

Jacobs was a community organizer who helped save her neighborhoods from destruction by the hands outside interests.  She invited everyone to see how cities actually work through experience, to go out and see what makes a neighborhood thrive, or to see what makes a neighborhood struggle.  And she opposed those who insisted on the same solutions to fix the unique challenges in cities.

We honor Jane Jacobs by helping people leave the isolation of their homes to come together to experience areas of their city outside of the automobile.  The purpose of Jane Jacobs Walk is to engage people in walking, observing, and connecting with their communities. We invite people to make a difference because a Jane Jacobs Walk enables members of a community to discover and respond to the complexities of their city  and environment through personal and shared observation.

 

Banner- City 04-15.jpg
youthcityspeak.slider.website.jpg

YouthCity Speak


SCROLL DOWN

YouthCity Speak


YouthCity Speak

Background: Kidspeak is an environment-based curriculum project that gives children a voice in the future of their community. Our curriculum development modules teach students how to identify community problems important to them and provide tools and resources for them to take action. As a result of just one of these projects, elementary school students in Salt Lake City were inspired to tackle toxic waste in their neighborhood.  The students’ efforts led the EPA to remediate the toxic brownfield, declared it a Superfund site, and awarded the children for their efforts during a ceremony in Washington, DC.

YouthCity Speak builds upon this success by developing new urban environmental education modules for YouthCity programs nationwide. Like Kidspeak, the program is designed to raise youth’s awareness, and increase their understanding of the social and environmental problems in their community that inspire action. 

The modules teach youth how to become empowered and meaningfully engaged in their community. They are designed to guide youth through projects that address social and environmental justice issues and teach them how to find their own solutions to those problems. 


Exploring our Connections to Nature

7 + hours of lessons

In this module, students will explore how their lives are linked to everything in their communities and ecosystems at varying scales. Through personal and group exploration, students will begin to understand our role in our ecosystem and how the decisions we make directly affect all living things.

Understanding sustainability and our role in our ecosystem is crucial to the overall health of our environment and the way it functions. Through this module, students will begin to understand systems thinking and will be able to see many more of their connections to the community and the environment. Students will learn to appreciate the many things we use in our daily lives. They will become aware of our dependence on things in nature and that what we do to our resources in nature, we are ultimately doing to ourselves.     

Age Levels: 8-14 years old

What to Expect:

Students will engage in critical thinking to better understand how life is interconnected.

They will identify connections within our communities and ecosystems.

They will analyze the positive and negative impacts of human interactions with natural habitats and communities.

They will evaluate the ways of minimizing the negative impacts of our actions onto our ecosystems.

Expected Outcome:

Students will have a better understanding of how humans interact with nature and will be able to infer the consequences of overuse or misuse of our within our communities and ecosystems.

Students will begin to understand system thinking.


Your Home • Your Community • Your Impact

7.5 (+) hours of lessons

In this module, students will learn to look at their communities in new ways. This module is designed to encourage youth to critically assess the way their communities function, look, and feel. It will help youth make a positive impact in their community, neighborhood, or school and thereby give them a sense of ownership and pride in the future of their community.

The module is designed to present issues that will impact the future quality of life in the student’s neighborhood, community, city, and/or state. The issues identified by the students will be focused within their own community, but will enhance their understanding of how local problems have implications for the nation and even the world. The process engages students in thinking critically as they identify issues and develop strategies to address those issues.

Age Levels: 8-14 years old

Expected Outcome:

  • Youth will have a better understanding of their observations and will know how to take steps to solve problems they identify.
  • Youth will know how to effectively voice their observations and concerns with media, officials, and other community members.
  • Youth will take action on a problem as a result of a concern they identify.
  • Youth will become effective social change agents in their community. 

  

Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 10.02.55 PM.png

Jacobs Fellowship Program


...created for individuals to engage in city-building processes of critical importance in maintaining or regaining the strength and resilience of cities.

SCROLL DOWN

Jacobs Fellowship Program


...created for individuals to engage in city-building processes of critical importance in maintaining or regaining the strength and resilience of cities.

The Center for the Living City established the Jacobs Fellowship Program in 2006, in honor of Jane Jacobs. This inaugural fellowship was funded through a generous grant from Deutsche Bank. These fellowships are created for individuals to engage in city-building processes of critical importance in maintaining or regaining the strength and resilience of cities. Fellowships occur across disciplines and address the complex, interconnected problems facing cities throughout the world.  

 

Fellowship Recipients

Ben GauslinJacobs Fellow 2006, City as an organic, urban artifactMr. Gauslin devoted one full year working with housing authorities in New Orleans on affordable housing and neighborhood development efforts in low-income neighborhoods. A graduate of Virginia Tech’s College of Architecture and Urban Studies, Mr. Gauslin worked alongside housing authorities on building and site inspections, developing preliminary designs and budgets for housing and commercial revitalization projects and the development of a pattern book for housing rehabilitation in the New Orleans East neighborhoods.

 

 

 

P1010046.jpg

Center Exhibitions


SCROLL DOWN

Center Exhibitions


Learning from Disaster: New Orleans After Katrina

Three months after Hurricane Katrina undermined the lives and places of people in New Orleans, the Center for the Living City organized a team of students from Purchase College to go to New Orleans and learn from the disaster.  While in New Orleans, students participated in stripping homes and preparing them for reconstruction. Using the power of observation informed through the work of Jane Jacobs, volunteers from the Center led students in a process where exploration, information and knowledge gained led to an exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York titled, Learning from Disaster: New Orleans After Katrina. An important component of this exhibition was comparing and contrasting the experience of students whose lives were changed by the World Trade Center disaster.

About Learning From Disaster

After Hurricane Katrina, the Center, represented by Roberta Gratz, Ron Shiffman and Stephen Goldsmith,  immediately got involved in efforts to initiate a short term planning and development assistance to Gulf citizens as well as long term assistance in the rebuilding process that assured the participation of the affected citizens. Most importantly, the Center helped focus discussion on the needs of New Orleans' lowest income residents and their right to return to their neighborhood in a safe and sustainable manner. Ron and Roberta helped to organize a planning conference in Baton Rouge which brought together community-based activists from NYC and elsewhere with New Orleans Katrina victims. 

With a grant from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Center organized a 5-day trip to New Orleans with 10 Purchase College students. They were mostly journalism students, but included students from anthropology and environmental studies. The cross-section of students reflects the cross-disciplinary basis of the Center.  

Each student was required to write three articles based on the diversified interviews set up ahead of time. Interviewee subjects included developers, transportation specialists, community residents, arts community leaders, preservationists, architects and a Times-Picayune columnist. Some of the student articles were published in the campus newspaper and posted on the Purchase website. The students' experience and the Center's work was covered on local Tv. 

The New Orleans project and experience proved to have a profound impact on the students. While it differed with each student, a new understanding of urbanism was conveyed. The inextricable connections among urban issues could not be missed and the need to look at city building issues in a holistic way was clear. No matter what profession any of these students go into, none of them will think about cities the way they did before this trip. 

Shortly after the trip, the Museum for the City of New York offered the Center the opportunity to mount a two-month exhibit about the New Orleans trip. The exhibit opened April 20, 2006 and ran through June 2006. Center board member Richard Rabinowitz, who gained national acclaim with his Slavery in New York show at the New York Historical Society, helped Roberta and Stephen develop the exhibit. The exhibit was funded by Purchase College. 

Drawing on the students' articles and photographs, the exhibit spotlighted the critical issues uncovered by the students during the New Orleans visit. Hundreds of people visited this exhibit and visitor comments clearly reflected a strong impact on the viewers. 

Get a glimpse of the project in Lessons in the Classrooms of Life (below),  a featured article in Purchase's Alumni magazine in Summer of 2006.