Jacobs has been called “The Mother Theresa of Urban Planning” by the Village Voice. Her books include the groundbreaking
The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961), The Economy of Cities (1968), The Question of Separatism (1980), Cities and the Wealth of Nations (1984), Systems of Survival (1993), The Nature of Economies (2000), and Dark Age Ahead (2004). The high point of producing A Lot in Common was chatting with Ms. Jacobs at her cozy Toronto home after she generously agreed to be interviewed in the Fall of 2000. Her participation has brought the documentary to a much wider audience. Jane Jacobs died in Toronto on April 26, 2006.
"There was a time when urban planning was just killing cities as rapidly as it could be applied. The whole idea was to separate
every kind of use away from every other kind of use. A city won’t work that way. You have to mix up uses together. The trouble now
though I would say is there isn’t enough thought about how
things do change in cities and how you can make those changes
allies, rather than enemies.
We do need places to come together. Casual encounters with one
another are important in learning trust, and learning to be civilized
in the use of the public space.
People always want to know what’s going to happen in the
future. And I’m no help on that because I’m no prophet.
You know, most other people aren’t any help either because
other people aren’t prophets either. I don’t know
why we’re so hung up on what’s going to happen. How
it’s going to be, what the city’s going to be like
in another hundred years, et cetera. I think that’s nonsense.
We ought to look and see what’s happening now . People don’t
pay attention to what’s happening right now , and seeing
as far as possible that it’s happening well, that it’s
going in the right direction. Because the only way I can be a
prophet at all is to tell you that if you go in the wrong direction,
it's going to be bad."