What Would Jane Say? City-Building Women and a Tale of Two Chicagos
City Beautiful, City Livable
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.
After author Janice Metzger sets a detailed stage of Chicago at the turn of twentieth century--the players and the movements, the problems and the reform efforts, the conflicts and the possibilities--she takes readers into wonderful speculative chapters in the areas of transportation, law, housing, neighborhood development, immigration, labor, health, and education. What would Jane Addams and her peers say if they had been involved in the Plan of Chicago? Using painstaking research, historical detail, and a pinch of imagination, Metzger thinks she has a pretty good idea. . .