The New York City-based Rockefeller Foundation has announced the winners of the 2010 Jane Jacobs Medal, which recognizes individuals whose actions and accomplishments in New York City exemplify the late author and civic activist's principles.
Joshua David and Robert Hammond, co-founders of Friends of the High Line, were named winners of the 2010 Jane Jacobs Medal for New Ideas and Activism, while Elizabeth Barlow Rogers, founding and longtime president of the Central Park Conservancy and current president of the Foundation for Landscape Studies, was selected to receive the 2010 Jane Jacobs Medal for Lifetime Leadership. Along with the medal, David and Hammond will receive $60,000 each, while Rogers will receive $80,000.
After years of activism to save the High Line — a 1.5-mile-long railroad viaduct elevated above the streets of Manhattan's west side — from demolition, David and Hammond were instrumental in generating political and financial support to have the structure developed and maintained as a landscaped public space for all New Yorkers to enjoy. In addition to overseeing the maintenance, operations, and public programming for the park in partnership with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, Friends of the High Line works to secure private funding to support more than 70 percent of the park's annual operating budget.
During the 1960s and '70s, Central Park fell into a state of severe disrepair due to misuse and management neglect compounded by the city's fiscal problems. While some government leaders advocated for turning the park over to the National Park Service, Rogers argued that the citizens of New York City could reverse the decline of the nineteenth-century landscape masterpiece. Between 1980 and 1995, Rogers held the dual position of Central Park administrator and president of the Central Park Conservancy, overseeing the development of a comprehensive plan to guide the fundraising campaigns and rehabilitation efforts that are credited with reversing the park's decline and bringing it to its current state of horticultural health, scenic beauty, recreational utility, and safety.
"The Rockefeller Foundation Jane Jacobs Medal recognizes New Yorkers for extraordinary work that has changed the way we think about development, neighborhoods and planning within cities," said Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation. "It is no surprise that this year's winners are Joshua David, Robert Hammond, and Elizabeth Barlow Rogers — all of whom have displayed vision and innovation in the building and restoring of our city's storied parklands to make our neighborhoods sustainable and livable, embodying and defining the very legacy of civic activism that Jane Jacobs fostered."