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Working Toward a Just City: The 2008 Jane Jacobs Medal Winners

“Cities have the capacity of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” – Jane Jacobs

In 2007, the Rockefeller Foundation and MAS partnered to create Jane Jacobs and the Future of New York, a public education and civic engagement initiative organized in conjunction with the inaugural Jane Jacobs Medal. This year, through a grant from the Foundation, MAS administered the second annual Jane Jacobs Medal as part of our ongoing efforts to explore New York City through a Jacobsean lens.

MAS is delighted to announce this year’s medal recipients are, Peggy Shepard, who received the Jane Jacobs Medal for Lifetime Achievement, and Alexie Torres-Fleming, who was presented with the Jane Jacobs Medal for New Ideas and Activism. Ms. Shepard is the executive director and co-founder of West Harlem Environmental Action, Inc. (WE ACT), a leader in the effort to publicize and combat the historic practice of locating environmentally harmful facilities in working class communities of color. Ms. Torres-Fleming is the founding director of Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice (YMPJ), a nonprofit organization that aims to rebuild communities surrounding the Bronx River and the Soundview/Bruckner neighborhoods by preparing young people to become active voices for peace and justice.

We invite the public to visit the Municipal Art Society lobby to view a multimedia presentation celebrating the accomplishments of this year’s winners.

The Rockefeller Foundation created the Jane Jacobs Medal in 2007 to reaffirm its commitment to New York City and acknowledge individuals whose work reflects Jacobsean principles and practices while perpetuating the inspiring legacy of the author and activist who died in 2006. The Foundation’s relationship with Jane Jacobs dates from the 1950s, when the institution launched an Urban Design Studies program that is widely credited for the emergence of the new discipline of urban design. New York City was the laboratory for the Foundation during this era, and one of its seminal grants was to a relatively unknown writer named Jane Jacobs for the research and writing of the urban classic, The Death and Life of Great American Cities.