• Alta Club (map)
  • 100 East South Temple
  • Salt Lake City, UT, 84111
  • United States

The Center for the Living City presents a discussion with Glenna Lang, author of The Genius of Common Sense: The Story of Jane Jacobs and “The Death and Life of Great American Cities.” This book, originally written for young people, has been hailed by the Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic Robert Campbell as “the best short introduction yet to the life and work of one of the most influential Americans of her [Jane Jacobs’s] generation” for adults too.

In the 60’s when the “urban renewal” movement and its bulldozers were most aggressive, Jacobs correctly perceived that the new structures being built to replace the aging housing of our older cities were often far worse, in both their impact on society and their architectural sterility, than what urban planners identified as “the problem.” She was ridiculed and pilloried by the establishment, but her ideas quickly took hold, and no one ever looked at what made for livable and viable neighborhoods the same way again. Jane Jacobs, a heroine of common sense, never attended college but her observations, determination, and independent spirit led her to far different conclusions than those of the academics who surrounded her. 

Genius of Common Sense will inspire readers of all ages and demonstrate that we learn vital life lessons from observing and thinking, and not just accepting what passes as “conventional wisdom.”

Join us for an evening of insight, observation, and action as we celebrate Jane Jacobs’s Centennial. There will be books available for purchase and a book signing after the event. 

This event is made possible with support from the Utah Humanities and the Alta Club.

About Glenna Lang

Glenna Lang is the author of Genius of Common Sense: The Story of Jane Jacobs and “The Death and Life of Great American Cities,” a book for young adults of all ages, which was chosen as a 2009 Notable Book by both the New York Times and Smithsonian magazine. That same year, in collaboration with the Cambridge Historical Commission, she started an annual Jane Jacobs Walk, which has become a highlight of early May with the ever-growing participation of enthusiastic residents. 

Glenna teaches illustration and design at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where she seeks to engage students in projects for nonprofit organizations and other good causes. She graduated from the University of Chicago, where she loved gazing at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House from her dormitory window and was shocked to learn of the routine destruction of Chicago’s other architectural gems. Her illustrations have appeared frequently in the Atlantic Monthly, the Boston Globe, and many other publications. She has written and illustrated five picture books for children, including the American Library Association’s prize-winner Looking Out for Sarah, depicting a day in the life of a seeing-eye dog and his owner from the dog’s point of view.


Are there dress requirements to enter the event?

Yes, please dress in business casual attire. Appropriate business casual attire is acceptable for both men and women. Jackets are not required but recommended. Women are encouraged to wear comparable attire.  

Definition of business casual attire: normally acceptable “dress down” business attire including shirts with banded collar, slacks, and sports shirts. For women a pantsuit or dress, tailored pants, or skirt paired with a jacket, blouse, or sweater, are appropriate attire.

Jeans are acceptable when free of rips or tears, preferably dark in color, and worn with a collared shirt for men and a nice blouse or sweater for women.  Sneakers and tennis shoes are not acceptable in the Bar and Grill.

Where can I contact the organizer with any questions?

If you have any questions, contact Chelsea at chelsea@centerforthelivingcity.org

What are my transport/parking options getting to the event?

The Alta Club parking lot is located at 151 E. South Temple. It is an outdoor lot with a ramp indicating its entrance.  The lot is located one quarter block Northeast, and across the street from the club.