The first Jane Jacobs International Medal for individual contributions to urban planning will be announced by the Rockerfeller Foundation and the Municipal Art Society of New York later this week. The award was instituted in 2007 to recognise individuals who “create new ways of seeing and understanding cities” and “creatively use the built environment to make cities places of hope and expectation”.
This year, the $100,000 prize (Rs 67 lakh approximately) was opened to international nominees for the first time in honour of Jane Jacobs' 100th birth anniversary. The award ceremony will be held in Equador in mid-October.
Jacobs, a world-renowned American urban writer and activist, died in 2006. She was not professionally trained as an urban planner but her community-based activism was a major influence in New York, where she mobilised the public to protect local neighbourhoods from reckless urban development.
Jacobs' 1961 book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, has been hugely influential for architects and planners around the world. Every May, neighbourhood walking tours called "Jane Jacobs Walks" are organised in cities around the world to honour Jacobs. Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and other Indian cities have organised these walks intermittently since 2009.