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"What Would Jane Say?" tells the tale of two approaches to city-building in the early 1900s and the people and ideas behind them. It also tells the story of what was created in Chicago and what could have been created.
In 1909, architecture giant Daniel Burnham, Edward Bennett, and the Commercial Club of Chicago developed the Plan of Chicago, primarily with personal and business interests in mind. They subscribed to the City Beautiful movement, which assumed that a city that was attractive and well organized would resolve the vexing troubles around them. At the same time, the formidable Jane Addams and many female contemporaries were engaged in city-building work of a different sort. Their achievements still resonate today, even if the women's names do not. They subscribed to City Livable ideas that addressed the social, economic, and cultural needs of the population.
"City planning is not only the design of physical spaces. Its essential elements include consideration and care for people, and including them in the planning process! Burnham's Plan of Chicago could have been a comprehensive one, but it wasn't. Every person—especially every city planner—who reads the 1909 Plan of Chicago should read this book. You will be nodding throughout and find yourself astounded that so much was missing."—Karen L. Stonehouse, American Planning Association, Illinois Chapter
"What Would Jane Say? is not only an insightful historical work that highlights the work of Jane Addams and her progressive contemporaries, it is also a helpful guide that offers valuable lessons and ideas that planners and public-policy makers can apply today. If you are considering a career in urban planning, social work, or local government, What Would Jane Say? is a recommended read. There is much to glean from this book that speaks to why and how social factors should be incorporated in the crafting of any master development plan."—- Alderman Manny Flores, 1st Ward, Chicago
"Janice Metzger's relentless inquiry, integrity, and passion for the subject are evident on every page. The 'Burnham' Plan was Chicago's gift to the world. What Would Jane Say? is a much needed expansion of the dialogue on the ingredients that make a healthy city, and it reminds us why place matters."— Sylvia Ewing, Veteran producer and writer
"The Burnham Plan is often treated like a sacred text by urban planners. Its centennial is being celebrated in Chicago, the city it helped to define, with a reverential year-long tribute. Against this backdrop it's an illuminating relief to read Janice Metzger's What Would Jane Say? For me, the book exposes the nuances of the political and social conditions in which the Burnham Plan was forged. I was fascinated to learn how the seemingly innocuous frameworks of this regional vision were formed and reformed over the decades, casting for better and for worse, a long shadow over the shape and institutions of Chicago….Metzger's work reveals not just the more liveable city that might have been, but creates a hopeful space for the Chicago that could be should we choose to open our eyes to the bigness of making small plans."—Ben Helphand, Executive Director, NeighborSpace
"It appears history can and does repeat itself! As an elected official, I am struck by the comparisons of what Ms. Metzger writes of the days of Burnham's Plan of Chicago and Jane Addams's Hull-House, and life in Chicago as we know it today. As she notes, 'Chicago residents in 1909 suffered from corruption in government, inequitable taxation, overcrowded schools, unsanitary public hospitals, and a host of other social ills.' Throw in gun violence and road rage and you've described Chicago one hundred years later! While the sad truth lies in what little has changed, this book offers hope for what can change. Let's hope leaders will soon start asking: 'What Would Jane Say?'!" –-Kathy Ryg, Illinois State Representative, District 59