Citizen Jane

Our for June 2017 is Citizen Jane, a documentary about that true hero of city-planners: Jane Jacobs. It describes her battle to protect New York’s neighbourhoods in the face of the all-powerful city-boss Robert Moses.

Arguably no one did more to shape understanding of the modern American city than Jane Jacobs, who fought to preserve urban communities in the face of destructive development projects. Yes, Robert Moses was a bullying megalomaniac, but in New York he built 13 bridges, two tunnels, 637 miles of highways, 658 playgrounds, 10 giant public swimming pools, 17 state parks, not to mention dozens of housing projects and city parks. “There is nobody against this,” insisted a flustered Moses, “Nobody, nobody, nobody but a bunch of ……a bunch of mothers”

Wry but not dry, its nimble use of archive footage and chewy interviews expands the film into a thoughtful examination of what (and who) cities are for.

We also have our special guest, Dominic Smith, introducing and talking about his short ‘Between wind and water’. Using interviews with former shipyard workers, it explores memories of Sunderland’s River Wear teaming with ships, while the viewer contrasts that with the calm, still waters of the River today