Open House Melbourne pays tribute to the life and work of leading American urbanist and city activist, Jane Jacobs, through a series of events this July beginning with a documentary.
Organised in partnership with ACMI and the Wheeler Centre in association with janewalks.org, Open House Melbourne will present a special program themed ‘What Would Jane Do?’. The program will launch on Saturday 1 July with a documentary about Jacobs' life, entitled ‘Citizen Jane: Battle for the City’.
Directed by Matt Tyrnauer ('Valentino: The Last Emperor'), the film documents Jacobs’ infamous battle with New York City’s ‘master builder’ Robert Moses over his plans to redevelop her home neighbourhood of Greenwich Village and his Lower Manhattan Expressway (LOMEX) project. Jacobs’ protests culminated in her arrest, but also led to the cancellation of the project.
Jane Jacobs (1916-2006) championed a fresh, community-based approach to city building in her writings. Though she had no formal training as a planner, her 1961 opus, 'The Death and Life of Great American Cities', introduced ground-breaking ideas about how cities function, evolve and fail.
According to Emma Telfer, Open House Melbourne executive director, Jacobs empowered people to take on a larger role in the development of their neighbourhoods and cities. 'What Would Jane Do?' celebrates Jacobs’ writings and insights, and use her ideas as a catalyst for conversations about Melbourne’s future.
The Jacobs-centric Open House program also includes two talks in partnership with the Wheeler Centre and a series of walks conducted as part of the broader Open House Melbourne weekend.
The full program for Open House can be found here.