Jane Jacobs, OC, OOnt (May 4, 1916 – April 25, 2006) was an American-Canadian writer and activist with primary interest in communities and urban planning and decay. She is best known for The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961), a powerful critique of the urban renewal policies of the 1950s in the United States. The book has been credited with reaching beyond planning issues to influence the spirit of the times.
Along with her well-known printed works, Jacobs is equally well-known for organising grassroots efforts to block urban-renewal projects that would have destroyed local neighbourhoods. She was instrumental in the eventual cancellation of the Lower Manhattan Expressway, and after moving to Canada in 1968, equally influential in canceling the Spadina Expressway and the associated network of highways under construction.
Michael Mobbs is a proud and long time Chippendale resident who has successfully translated his own passion for the environment and sustainable living into a physical and social makeover of his local street.
Michael began with the renovation of his own house so that it would use less resources. He successfully retrofitted the family’s terrace house, on a standard size Sydney block, to enable the collection all their drinking water from the roof, generate all of their own electricity and process all of their wastewater, including sewage, on site.
Taking this personal quest to the streets outside his home, and thinking specifically about food miles and the sheer cost of food production to the environment, he began planting fruit trees on the grass verge. With strong neighbourhood support for the idea, there are three city blocks that are now lined with vegetables, herbs and fruit trees that have ben planted for the community, by the community.
While no Council permission was sought in the beginning of this process, Michael has subsequently found allies within Council, notably the Lord Mayor Clover Moore, who has since appointed a Community Gardens Coordinator for the city. Michael’s aim: educate with action!