Citizen Jane: Battle for the City


Following a festival circuit run and theatrical release, CITIZEN JANE: BATTLE FOR THE CITY, a timely documentary about author and neighbourhood activist Jane Jacobs, has its television premiere, Monday, July 17 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO Canada. The film tells the story of the late New York native and Toronto resident, author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities, whose writings championed a fresh, community-based approach to city building and introduced ground-breaking ideas about how cities function, evolve, and fail.

Directed by Matt Tyrnauer (Valentino: The Last Emperor), the film explores the epic clash between Jacobs and New York’s “Master Builder” Robert Moses over the fate of the massive urban renewal projects in 1950s New York City, in which bureaucratic, “top down” concepts to building cities dramatically clashed with grassroots “bottom up” approaches. Jacobs and Moses are portrayed as two larger-than-life personalities: Jacobs, a journalist with provincial origins, no formal training in city planning, and scarce institutional authority; and Moses, the upper class, high prince of government and urban theory, fully ensconced in New York’s halls of power and privilege.

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