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Robert Moses vs. Jane Jacobs

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Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses are routinely pitted against each other--or at least their philosophies are--in conversations regarding street life and car and highway culture in New York City.   Earlier this spring, the Museum of the City of New York hosted a panel discussion on the two big thinkers called "Robert Moses, Jane Jacobs and the Automobile." The auditorium was packed, and the conversation lively, as discussions on these contentious subjects often are.

Anthony Flint, journalist and author at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and author of "Wrestling with Moses: How Jane Jacobs Took on New York's Master Builder and Transformed the American City" moderated the discussion between Roberta Brandes Gratz, author of "The Battle For Gotham: New York in the Shadow of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs" and Owen Gutfruend, Associate Professor of Urban Affairs and Planning at Hunter College and author of "Twentieth Century Sprawl: Highways and the Reshaping of the American Landscape."

The conversation begins with Flint giving background on Moses and Jacobs.   

Use the player above to listen to the entire event.

Bon Mots

On not focusing on differences: "I think this focus on their clash does both of them something of a disservice ... We can fall into a trap thinking that 50 years later what we need to be doing is choosing sides in a battle." --Owen Gutfruend

On Moses' character: "He became an unchecked power that was counterproductive in many ways. He was meanspirited, he was megalomaniacal." --Owen Gutfruend

On changing how we talk about transportation: "Look at the nomenclature ... People still talk about, and journalists write about, investing in highways and subsidizing transit. Now, it seems to me we could do it the other way around. We could invest in transit because we've been subsidizing highways since the 1950s." --Roberta Brandes Gratz