Jane Jacobs’s vision of urban life and community development can be understood as a foundation of sustainability discourse and practice at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Urban residents across the country are organizing themselves around the vision of mixed-use, vibrant, walkable neighborhoods that Jacobs pioneered. With little support from environmental laws, government agencies, or private developers, community groups are taking on the challenge of redeveloping urban areas to help restore blighted ecosystems while attracting high-quality economic development. The efforts of the Mystic View Task Force in Somerville, Massachusetts to create an urban village along the Mystic River is an example of this “Jacobean” movement and the challenges inherent in this work. As goes Somerville, so go other cities trying to build better, more sustainable places to live, work and play.
William A. Shutkin,
"A River (and $5 Billion of Transportation Infrastructure) Runs Through It": Sustainability Slouches Toward Somerville's Waterfront,
B.C. Envtl. Aff. L. Rev.