Jane Jacobs Urban Communication Book Award

The Jane Jacobs Urban Communication Book Award

Call for Nominations

The annual Jane Jacobs Urban Communication Book Award recognizes an outstanding book, published in English, which exhibits excellence in addressing issues of urban communication. It is named in honor of the late social activist and author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities. All entries must be published between January 1, 2014 and June 30, 2016. The book award brings with it a $500 prize.

To nominate a book, please send a short letter of nomination or self-nomination (in the form of an email attachment) to Timothy Gibson, co-chair of the Jane Jacobs Book Award review committee, at the email address below by July 15, 2016. The letter of nomination should describe the book and explain how it addresses issues central to the field of urban communication. Finalists (or their publishers) will be asked to send four copies of the book to the award committee. For more information on the field of urban communication, and to determine if your nomination fits the award call, please review our mission statement.

Dr. Timothy Gibson (George Mason University) and Dr. Leo Jeffres (Cleveland State University)
Co-chairs, Jane Jacobs Urban Communication Book Award Committee.
Email nominations to: janejacobsaward2016@gmail.com

2016 Winner of The Jane Jacobs Urban Communication Book Award

Peter Laurence, Becoming Jane Jacobs (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016).

Peter Laurence, Becoming Jane Jacobs (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016).

This book offers readers a fascinating intellectual history of Jane Jacobs’ development as a critic and scholar of urban design. Of particular interest is how this deeply researched book delves into the early stages of Jacobs’ career, focusing with particular detail on her formative years as a working journalist in New York. Laurence shows how, as a writer and associate editor at Architectural Forum and other publications during the 1950s, Jacobs drew on her observations of modern architecture and urban renewal planning—as well as her professional connections to leading urbanists of the day—to develop and sharpen her now-legendary critique of top-down modernist planning. In doing so, Laurence convincingly dispels the mythology that has formed around Jacobs as an “amateur” urbanist who burst unexpectedly onto the scene in 1961. Far from it, Jacobs was a working writer and reporter, whose successive professional encounters with the failures of modernist planning and urban renewal compelled her to offer, as Laurence writes, “a wholly new vision of cities” in The Death and Life of Great American Cities—a vision that attempted to nurture, rather than poison, the fragile “ballet” of the street.

This is a book about urban communication in two major senses. First, as noted above, it documents how Jacobs’ early career as a professional journalist formed the crucial foundation for her development as a leading critic of modernist planning and perhaps the most influential urbanist of the late 20th century. Second, Laurence’s book also shows how Jacobs developed a particular understanding of the built environment as a medium of human communication, as a crucial means for shaping and enabling particular forms of social interaction. Not only did she help develop this view of the communicative city in her early writings and intellectual work (e.g., presenting at conferences on “urban design criticism”), but she was instrumental in bringing this view to wider audiences, both before and after the publication of her seminal 1961 book.

In sum, we cannot think of a more worthy selection for the UCF Jane Jacobs Book Award, particularly on the 100th anniversary of Jacobs’ birth in 1916.

Previous Recipients of The Jane Jacobs Urban Communication Book Award

2015

Ben Campkin, Remaking London: Decline and Regeneration in Urban Culture (I.B. Tauris, 2013).

Ben Campkin, Remaking London: Decline and Regeneration in Urban Culture (I.B. Tauris, 2013).

2014

Mark Shiel, Hollywood Cinema and the Real Los Angeles (Reaktion Books, 2012).

Mark Shiel, Hollywood Cinema and the Real Los Angeles (Reaktion Books, 2012).

2013

Spoma Jovanovic, Democracy, Dialogue, and Community Action: Truth and Reconciliation in Greensboro (The University of Arkansas Press, 2012).

Spoma Jovanovic, Democracy, Dialogue, and Community Action: Truth and Reconciliation in Greensboro (The University of Arkansas Press, 2012).

Teresa Bergman, Exhibiting Patriotism: Creating and Contesting Interpretations of American Historic Sites (Left Coast Press, 2013).

Teresa Bergman, Exhibiting Patriotism: Creating and Contesting Interpretations of American Historic Sites (Left Coast Press, 2013).

2012

Sharon Zukin, Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Public Spaces (Oxford University Press, 2010).

Sharon Zukin, Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Public Spaces (Oxford University Press, 2010).

2011

Lindsay Bremner, Writing the City into Being: Essays on Johannesburg 1998-2008 (Fourthwall Books, 2010).

Lindsay Bremner, Writing the City into Being: Essays on Johannesburg 1998-2008 (Fourthwall Books, 2010).

Amy Mills, Streets of Memory: Landscape, Tolerance, and National Identity in Istanbul (University of Georgia Press, 2010).

Amy Mills, Streets of Memory: Landscape, Tolerance, and National Identity in Istanbul (University of Georgia Press, 2010).

2010

Phaedra C. Pezzullo, Toxic Tourism: Rhetorics of Pollution, Travel and Environmental Justice(University of Alabama Press, 2007).

Phaedra C. Pezzullo, Toxic Tourism: Rhetorics of Pollution, Travel and Environmental Justice(University of Alabama Press, 2007).

Stephen A. Goldsmith & Lynne Elizabeth, What We See: Advancing the Observations of Jane Jacobs(New Village Press, 2010).

Stephen A. Goldsmith & Lynne Elizabeth, What We See: Advancing the Observations of Jane Jacobs(New Village Press, 2010).

2009

Andrew Wood, City Ubiquitous: Place, Communication, and the Rise of Omnitopia (Hampton Press, 2009).

Andrew Wood, City Ubiquitous: Place, Communication, and the Rise of Omnitopia (Hampton Press, 2009).

2008

Scott McQuire, The Media City: Media, Architecture and Urban Space (Sage Publications, 2008).

Scott McQuire, The Media City: Media, Architecture and Urban Space (Sage Publications, 2008).

2007

Paul Mason Fotsch, Watching the Traffic Go By: Transportation and Isolation in Urban America (The University of Texas Press, 2007).

Paul Mason Fotsch, Watching the Traffic Go By: Transportation and Isolation in Urban America (The University of Texas Press, 2007).

Timothy A. Gibson and Mark Lowes, Urban Communication: Production, Text, Context (Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2006).

Timothy A. Gibson and Mark Lowes, Urban Communication: Production, Text, Context (Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2006).

2006

First Prize

Steve Macek, Urban Nightmares: The media and the Moral Panic over the City (University of Minnesota Press, 2006).

Steve Macek, Urban Nightmares: The media and the Moral Panic over the City (University of Minnesota Press, 2006).

Second Prize

Jane Golden, Robin Rice, and Natalie Pompillo with Photographs by David Grahamand Jack Ramsdale, More Philadelphia Murals and the Stories They Tell (Temple University Press, 2006).

Jane Golden, Robin Rice, and Natalie Pompillo with Photographs by David Grahamand Jack Ramsdale, More Philadelphia Murals and the Stories They Tell (Temple University Press, 2006).

2005

Daniel Makagon, Where the Ball Drops: Days and Nights in Times Square (University of Minnesota Press, 2004).

Daniel Makagon, Where the Ball Drops: Days and Nights in Times Square (University of Minnesota Press, 2004).