Catherine Tumber

Catherine Tumber is the author of Small, Gritty, and Green: The Promises of America's Smaller Industrial Cities in a Low-Carbon World, among other writings. She works as a senior research associate at Northwestern University's Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy. 

Recent Articles

The Neighborhood Activist as Prophet

How Jane Jacobs took on the planners—and how her legacy is at risk. 

New York World-Telegram & Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection/Library of Congress
Eyes on the Street: The Life of Jane Jacobs By Robert Kangiel Knopf This article appears in the Winter 2017 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . We stand on the frumpy shoulders of a giant: “Jane,” as three generations of urbanists have known her, elevated into a pantheon of mono-names shared with Cher and Elvis. If not for Jane Jacobs, who died at the age of 89 in 2006, the postwar onslaught on cities as mere temporary pass-throughs for car-besotted, heavily subsidized white suburbanites would surely have proceeded at a brisker pace to greater completion. Others had railed against “modernist” planning too, of course, with its unadorned urban towers, small-town-enveloping suburban developments, and everywhere highways replacing public transit and functioning city neighborhoods. Urban historian and literary critic Lewis Mumford had been calling for a regionalist approach to urban settlements that preserved the virtues of both rural and city...