The Books of Moses

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moses At the same time as the Manhattanville debate is increasingly becoming polarized, Columbia is at the center of another controversy concerning urban planning.  This time, the subject is the historical legacy of Robert Moses, who earned his Ph.D. at Columbia in 1914.  Moses was responsible for the construction of many of New York City’s highways, skyscrapers, and parks as well as the disruption and sometimes destruction of the neighborhoods previously occupying the space.  Columbia professors Hilary Ballon and Kenneth T. Jackson, who recently co-edited a book on Moses, are both involved in a three-part exhibit reexamining his legacy, which has up until now been largely defined by an anti-Moses book, The Power Broker. Robert. A Caro, the book’s author, is quoted in yet-to-be-released articles by both the New York Times and New York Observer as arguing for his interpretation over Ballon and Jackson’s, which is more in Moses’s favor.

The third part of the exhibit, “Slum Clearance and the Superblock Solution,” is set to open here at the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery (8th floor Schermerhorn) next Tuesday, January 30th.  The other portions, held in the Museum of the City of New York and the Queens Art Museum, open this coming Friday and Saturday, respectively. Further Bwog coverage to follow.


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  1. Fuck Moses  

    Jane Jacobs is in Heaven, giving Robert Moses an exploding cigar.


  2. dotdotdot

    Jane Jacobs is one of the most influential planners of the twentieth century, and attended Columbia. I think a vigil was reasonable.

    • Jane Jacobs

      wasn't a planner. just a loud mouth mother and activist with strong opinions about planning.

      if she had her way there'd be a bar open at every corner of every neighborhood. her idealization of greenwich village is nice, but her hops of replicating it are beyond unrealistic.

      • Sprinkles  

        She wasn't a planner, but her "loud mouth" rallied people to stop a highway being built over Lower Manhattan. The only way to get anything done is by opening your mouth when you feel strongly about something.

      • Bzzzzz

        Not really. Although a bar on every corner wouldn't kill anybody. Bad planning does kill people. Oops!

        While Jane Jacobs' whole thing is very dependent on a world without gentrification, there's no reason neighborhoods can't be built in an intelligent manner that promotes community and keeps people walking around.

        ... god forbid somebody sell lettuce at 1 AM.

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