Jane Jacobs was particularly active in her role against the surge of urban renewal politics that emerged in the past-war period. She was of the view that modernist urban renewal measures destroyed cities rather than improving the social and economical conditions that needed to be addressed.
In the post-war period, that is the period after the Second World War, there arose a need for the redevelopment of bombed cities. It was decided to rebuild them on an organized framework and proper planning. However, there arose many criticisms to the approach adopted by architects and engineers. The critique that Jacobs leveled at the renewal plan was normative in nature, emphasizing on the values of the planning rather than the physical design. One of her significant contributions is her perception of cities as “problems of organized complexity,” which entail “dealing simultaneously with a sizeable number of factors which are interrelated into an organic whole” (Jacobs 1992).
One of the criticisms that Jacobs put across was the ideology of utopian comprehensiveness. In plan cities effectively and sustain the development plans, Jacobs saw the need to have an acute understanding of the way cities function. If city planners did not understand the lifestyles and needs of the residents, they would not be able to devise a plan that incorporated the needs of the community. Therefore she rejected the ideal models that emerged during post-war planning of towns and cities. According to Jacobs, Howard’s garden city model, and Le Corbusier’s vision of the city of the future and his radiant city did not explicitly illustrate a framework that fulfilled of the needs of the community and led to a more functional urban setting. Her argument was that modern city planners had little insight into the functioning of cities, their models can not