The Lower East Side Through the Lens of Jane Jacobs

Contrasts in Urban Design Planning

With Patrick Waldo

The most successful New York City blocks are more than just pleasant streetscapes. Architecturally interesting streets spark happiness in those who walk them, provide health benefits for their inhabitants, and foster a general pro-social behavior that enriches the lives of all city-dwellers. Buildings on these blocks vary in age and architectural style, are built to a human scale, and support a diverse mix of commercial and residential uses. Jane Jacobs identified these characteristics of a successful street in her seminal book “The Death and Life of Great American Cities.” Although they specifically described Jacobs’ Greenwich Village neighborhood, the main principles of the book can be found just as easily on the streets of the Lower East Side. What does the simple cornice found at the top of common tenement apartments say about the values of the people who built them? What are the social costs of Delancey Street’s new crop of massive luxury apartment buildings? How does the Whole Foods on Houston Street shorten the lifespan of the neighborhood’s older residents? What are the other threats to the urban fabric of New York’s most historic neighborhoods and how do we push back against them? Join preservationist and tour guide Patrick Waldo as he explores these questions and urbanist themes through the lens of Jane Jacobs.

Sunday, March 17
11:00 AM — 1:00 PM

Member: $20
Non-member: $30

intersection of Delancey Street and Suffolk Street
Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Janine and Jim Eden.