Jane Jacobs' West Village: Then and Now, An Analysis of Neighborhood Change.
Abstract: This thesis seeks to understand how Jane Jacobs' micro-neighborhood
since she lived there. In The Death and Life of Great American Cities, published in 1961,
Jacobs expresses the importance of diversity, both of uses and populations. In the 1960s,
the West Village was a mix of neighboring industrial, ... read morecommercial, and residential uses and
was a mostly working-class neighborhood, but in 2011 both the industries and the working
classes have disappeared. In order to trace the West Village's transition into "super
gentrification," this thesis gives a history of the neighborhood and shows physical change
by comparing photography of the neighborhood from the 1960s and 2011. It compares the
demographic indicators of gentrification, such as population, type of household, education
level, income level, and monthly rent for each decade. And finally, it analyzes 1947
Sanborn Maps, New York Planning Department zoning maps between 1961 and 2010, and an
inventory of current businesses, to determine changes in use. Learning from this study of
neighborhood change in Jacobs' neighborhood, planners should take a three-pronged approach
to address gentrification, based on Jacobs' teachings, but modified for today's problems.
First, use Jacobs' on-the-ground observation strategy and get out into the neighborhood to
really understand how it works. Second, take a huge step back and look at the big picture -
the city, the global economy, and social and political pressures - to understand these
different influences on the neighborhood. And third, ask questions of the neighborhoods'
residents and business owners to fully understand the larger shifts that affect
Thesis (M.A.)--Tufts University, 2011.
Submitted to the Dept. of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning.
Advisor: Sheldon Krimsky.
Committee: Barbara Parmenter.
Keywords: Urban Planning, and History.read less
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