The Rockefeller Foundation Honors De Niro, Rosenthal, Sadik-Khan and White with 2011 Jane Jacobs Medal
Tribeca pioneers honored for lifetime leadership and urban visionaries lauded for re-shaping the way our city moves
New York, NY—Today Rockefeller Foundation President Dr. Judith Rodin announced the recipients of the 2011 Jane Jacobs Medal — Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal, film producers and founders of the Tribeca Film Festival, Janette Sadik-Khan, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) and Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. The Medals are awarded each year to recipients whose work creates new ways of seeing and understanding New York City, challenges traditional assumptions and creatively uses the urban environment to make New York City a place of hope and expectation.
Ms. Sadik-Khan and Mr. White, who have each played visionary and instrumental roles in revolutionizing the city’s transportation landscape while improving quality of life for all New Yorkers, will receive the 2011 Jane Jacobs Medal for New Ideas and Activism. Mr. De Niro, legendary Academy Award-winning actor and Jane Rosenthal, co-founder and driving force behind the Tribeca Film festival, will receive the 2011 Jane Jacobs Medal for Lifetime Leadership. Along with the Medal, each recipient will receive a cash award of $50,000.
Janette Sadik-Khan will donate her $50,000 award to the New York City DOT’s Safe Streets Fund and Paul Steely White will donate the entirety of his award to help fund the ongoing work of his organization, Transportation Alternatives. Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal will donate the combined $100,000 from their awards to the Tribeca Film Institute’s Tribeca Teaches program, which brings the art of filmmaking into the classroom and enrich the educational experiences of students at schools in outlying communities.
The Rockefeller Foundation Jane Jacobs Medal was created in 2007 to honor the author and activist who died in April 2006 at the age of 89. The Rockefeller Foundation's relationship with Jane Jacobs dates back to the 1950s, when the Foundation made a grant to the then-obscure writer from Greenwich Village, for the research and writing of the book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Now more than fifty years later, Jane Jacobs’ work remains one of the most influential books ever written on urban design.
"The Rockefeller Foundation Jane Jacobs Medal recognizes New Yorkers whose creative uses of the urban environment build a more diverse, dynamic and equitable city for all of us," said Dr. Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation. "It is completely appropriate that this year’s winners are Janette Said-Khan and Paul Steely White, whose impact on New York’s urban landscape will be felt for generations, and Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal, who were instrumental in the complete rebirth of one of our city’s most vibrant and creative communities."
As New York City DOT Commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan has gained international acclaim as a brilliant, innovative city planner who has presided over a two-fold increase in cycling, expansion of rapid-transit bussing and safer streets for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists than at any time in the past century.
Beginning with Sustainable Streets, DOT’s first strategic plan published in 2008, Ms. Sadik-Khan has implemented a series of innovative projects: the creation of Broadway Boulevard, new Select Bus Service Routes in the Bronx and Manhattan, the installation of 18 plazas, the addition of over 250 miles of on-street bike lanes, car-free summer streets, weekend pedestrian walks and a new Street Design Manual requiring higher quality street designs for New York City.
For her extraordinary efforts at improving traffic flow, fostering sustainable transportation and increasing New Yorkers’ access to open public spaces, Janette Sadik-Khan is the 2011 recipient of the Jane Jacobs Medal for New Ideas and Activism.
A key contributor to making New York City more livable has been Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives. As the head of this urban grassroots organization, Mr. White is the voice of a public campaign to spur government action and provide popular support for more and better bike lanes, bike parking and public bicycle share.
Under Paul’s leadership, Transportation Alternatives has made New York City’s streets safer for pedestrians and bike riders, successfully championed traffic calming initiatives and seen its pioneering Safe Routes to School and Safe Routes for Seniors campaigns adopted by the City DOT. The Department also responded to Transportation Alternatives’ long-term activism by installing new pedestrian spaces and 200 miles of bike lanes between 2006 and 2009.
For his successful efforts to reclaim street space from automobiles for uses that promote better health and environmental sustainability, Paul Steely White is the 2011 recipient of the Jane Jacobs Medal for New Ideas and Activism.
Even casual filmgoers know the legendary Robert De Niro for his gritty on-screen work in films like “Goodfellas,” “Raging Bull” and “Taxi Driver,” but New Yorkers also know him as one of the driving forces behind the transformation of one of the city’s grittier neighborhoods into one of its more vibrant, creative and interesting locations.
In 1989 he and co-recipient Jane Rosenthal founded the Tribeca Film Center - the first commercial space in Tribeca dedicated to housing film, television, and entertainment companies. Their efforts revitalized New York City’s downtown film community and helped shape the future of what was largely a mercantile center.
In the weeks and months following the September 11th attacks, the pair witnessed firsthand the devastating economic impact the events of that day continued to have on downtown Manhattan. Driven by their vision and fierce determination, the duo set out to breathe new life into the neighborhood they love. Out of their dogged efforts came the Tribeca Film Festival, which brings hundreds of thousands of visitors downtown each year and is a prominent cultural event not only for New Yorkers, but for the entire film industry.
For their refusal to allow the events of September 11th to deliver lasting economic consequences on New York’s downtown and their determined efforts – initiated over twenty years ago - to establish a lasting cultural phenomenon that helps define its community, Jane Rosenthal and Robert De Niro are the recipients of the 2011 Jane Jacobs Medal for Lifetime Leadership.
The selection of the Jane Jacobs Medalists and allocation of the prize money was determined by the 2011 Jane Jacobs Medal Jury, chaired by Dr. Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation. The Jury also includes Richard Kahan, Founder and CEO of the Urban Assembly and recipient of the 2009 Jane Jacobs Medal for Lifetime Leadership; Mary Schmidt Campbell, Dean of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts; and Bruce Nussbaum, Professor of Design & Innovation at Parsons The New School for Design and Former Assistant Managing Editor of Business Week. The 2011 Jane Jacobs Medal is administered by the Municipal Art Society (MAS).
Municipal Art Society
The MAS, founded in 1893, is a non-profit membership organization committed to making New York a more livable city through education, dialogue and advocacy for intelligent urban planning, design and preservation. For more information, visit www.mas.org.
The Rockefeller Foundation
The Rockefeller Foundation’s mission to promote the well-being of people throughout the world has remained unchanged since its founding in 1913. Today, that mission is applied to an era of rapid globalization. Our vision is that this century will be one in which globalization’s benefits are more widely shared and its challenges are more easily weathered. To realize this vision, the Foundation seeks to achieve two fundamental goals in our work. First, we seek to build resilience that enhances individual, community and institutional capacity to survive, adapt, and grow in the face of acute crises and chronic stresses. Second, we seek to promote growth with equity in which the poor and vulnerable have more access to opportunities that improve their lives. In order to achieve these goals, the Foundation constructs its work into time-bound initiatives that have defined objectives and strategies for impact. These initiatives address challenges that lie either within or at the intersections of five issue areas: basic survival safeguards, global health, environment and climate change, urbanization, and social and economic security.