The battle in how the urban form of New York City in particular was shaped in the mid-twentieth century is presented, the two leading figures on the opposing sides of the battle being Robert Moses, who held many senior positions related to development of urban infrastructure, and Manhattan resident and journalist Jane Jacobs, author of "The Death and Life of Great American Cities". In this battle, Moses disregarded Jacobs as a "mere housewife" and a nuisance of one at that. As was the prevailing trend of the time, Moses was in the camp of demolishing what he saw as not working to build homogeneous neighborhoods in style and function - most buildings several stories high or taller in the need to accommodate a growing population - that were largely supported by urban freeways or expressways to move people from the burgeoning affluent suburbs to jobs in the urban center. Many of the urban housing developments were social housing for those who could not afford to live in the suburbs, and ...Written by
Great documentary on urban preservation vs. renewal
Jane Jacobs and the successful battle to oppose Robert Moses' planned lower Manhattan expressway in the 1960s is the focus of this doc, but the film also raises general questions about the overreach of city planners who are too quick to tear buildings down and not very wise about the new buildings and highways that go in their place.
It's a huge topic, so it was wise to focus here on Manhattan, where enough forms of political greed and poor planning took place to document the folly that went into projects that were completed, like the Cross-Bronx Expressway, along with some that weren't, like the prospect of bringing urban renewal to the West Village.
Lots of footage Moses, Jacobs, and the wrecking ball and we'll put together from beginning to end.
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