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New Yorkers Invited to Nominate 2010 Jane Jacobs Medal Candidates

The Rockefeller Foundation announced today that it is opening the public nominating process for the 2010 Jane Jacobs Medal — awarded to two living individuals whose creative vision for the urban environment has significantly contributed to the vibrancy and variety of New York City. Nominations can be submitted by anyone, but must be made by Monday, March 1, 2010.

Photo: 2009 Jane Jacobs Medal Recipients Richard Kahan (left) and Damaris Reyes (center) with Judith Rodin, Mary Schmidt Campbell, and George Campbell.

The Municipal Art Society is honored to again administer the Jane Jacobs Medal nomination process on behalf of the Rockefeller Foundation, as we have done since 2007 when the Foundation first established the award to honor the activist, author and urbanist who died in April 2006 at the age of 89. MAS will also sponsor a series of walking tours and the annual Jane Jacobs Forum this fall to coincide with the medal presentations.

The Jane Jacobs Medals are presented in two categories — one for Lifetime Leadership, and one for New Ideas and Activism — and are accompanied by prizes totaling $200,000. The selection of the Jane Jacobs Medal winners and allocation of the prize money will be determined by the members of the Jane Jacobs Medal Selection Jury. The Jury is co-chaired by Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin and trustee David Rockefeller, Jr. and includes Mary Schmidt Campbell, Dean of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts; and Bruce Nussbaum, assistant managing editor in charge of BusinessWeek magazine’s innovation and design coverage.

This is a time of great opportunity for the development of our city, said Darren Walker, Vice President of Foundation Initiatives for the Rockefeller Foundation. Fifty years ago, Jane Jacobs’ activism helped build a neighborhood based on the combined principles of community, diversity, and environment. As communities throughout New York continue to weather the difficult economic storm, there is a new generation of activists who are creating dynamic change in their neighborhoods from the inside out, and once again working to make New York City stronger and more unified. The Rockefeller Foundation is pleased to continue to award the new generation of influencers with The Jane Jacobs Medals as a means of celebrating and encouraging a continued dialogue and civic action within our great city today.

The 2010 Rockefeller Foundation Jane Jacobs Medal winners will be announced in July of this year. The Medals will be awarded to the recipients at a reception in September 2010.

Thus far, six New Yorkers have received the medal: Richard Kahan of the Urban Assembly and Damaris Reyes of Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES) in 2009; Peggy Shepard of West Harlem Environmental Action, Inc. and Alexie Torres-Fleming of Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice in 2008; and Barry Benepe, founder of the New York Greenmarkets program and Omar Freilla of Greenworker Cooperatives in 2007.

The Rockefeller Foundation’s relationship with Jane Jacobs dates back to the 1950s, when it launched an Urban Design Studies program that helped foster the emergence of the new discipline of urban design and theory. As part of this initiative, one of the Foundation’s first grants was to the then-obscure writer from Greenwich Village, for the research and writing of Jacobs’ seminal book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities.