Monthly Archives: March 2009

Who can participate in Jane’s Walk?

Jane’s Walk is for everybody!

You don’t have to be familiar with Jane Jacobs work to participate in Jane’s Walk Phoenix but taking part is a great way to learn about her ideas, which have had a significant influence in how people think about their cities and communities. In books such as “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” (1961) Jacobs championed the interests of local residents and pedestrians over a car-centered approach to planning, made the case for refurbishing old buildings instead of tearing them down and building new ones, and demonstrated the desirability of increasing the density of cities over sprawling endlessly outward.  Leading up to the walk on May 2nd, I’ll be exploring some of the concepts outline in Jacob’s work and highlighting those that are most relevant to the emerging urbanisn taking root in downtown Phoenix.

Jane’s Walk is an international initiative of the Centre for City Ecology, a Toronto-based think-tank devoted to furthering Jacobs’ ideas and concerns about cities and sustainability.  Jane’s Walk USA is being coordinated by the CCE’s sister organization,  Center for the Living City, an organization dedicated to gaining a greater understanding of the complexity of contemporary life by creating generative portals through which individuals and organizations connect with others addressing the interrelated issues of economies, ecologies, society and city building.

Jane’s Walk is intended to raise our urban understanding by combining the simple act of walking with personal observations, urban history, planning, design and civic engagement. The Walk helps knit people together into a strong, connected and resourceful community.  It is a great opportunity for people to discover the reemergence of downtown Phoenix as a vital urban core; both familiar places you think you know well, and new places you want to explore. I hope you’ll join us on May 2nd in offering an insider take on downtown Phoenix’s vibrant and fascinating neighborhoods.

Who Is Jane Jacobs?

Jane Jacobs (1916-2006) was an urbanist and activist whose writings championed a fresh, community-based approach to city building. She had no formal training as a planner, and yet her 1961 treatise, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, introduced ground-breaking ideas about how cities function, evolve and fail that now seem like common sense to generations of architects, planners, politicians and activists.

Jacobs saw cities as ecosystems that had their own logic and dynamism which would change over time according to how they were used. With a keen eye for detail, she wrote eloquently about sidewalks, parks, retail design and self-organization. She promoted higher density in cities, short blocks, local economies and mixed uses. Jacobs helped derail the car-centred approach to urban planning in both New York and Toronto, invigorating neighbourhood activism by helping stop the expansion of expressways and roads. She lived in Greenwich Village for decades, then moved to Toronto in 1968 where she continued her work and writing on urbanism, economies and social issues until her death in April 2006. 

A firm believer in the importance of local residents having input on how their neighborhoods develop, Jacobs encouraged people to familiarize themselves with the places where they live, work and play with words like these:

“No one can find what will work for our cities by looking at suburban garden cities, manipulating scale models, or inventing dream cities. You’ve got to get out and walk.” – Downtown is for People, 1957.

 

HT:  http://www.janeswalkusa.org/who-is-jane-jacobs ,

         http://www.janeswalk.net/about_jane_jacobs

What is Jane’s Walk?

Jane’s Walk is a coordinated series of free neighborhood walking tours given by locals who care passionately about where they live, work and play. The walks honor the legacy and ideas of urban activist and writer Jane Jacobs who championed the interests of local residents and pedestrians over a car-centered approach to planning.   At their core, the tours are about raising urban literacy by offering a pedestrian focused event that combines insights into urban history, planning, design and civic engagement with the simple act of walking and observing.  They are intended to help put people in touch with their environment and with each other, by bridging social and geographic gaps,  and creating a space for cities to discover themselves

All Jane’s Walk tours are given and taken for free. These walks are led by anyone who has an interest in the neighborhoods where they live, work or hang out. They are not simply about architecture and heritage, but rather about a more personal take on the local culture, the social history and the planning issues faced by the residents. Jane Jacobs believed strongly that local residents understood best how their communities works, and what is needed to strengthen and improve them. Jane’s Walks are meant to be fun, engaged and participatory – everyone’s got a story and they’re usually keen to share it.

Since it’s inception in 2007, Jane’s Walk has happened in twelve North American cities: Toronto, New York, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Halifax, Guelph, Charlottetown, Thornbury, and Salt Lake City. More partner cities and towns are being added in 2009 including Montreal, Boston, Chicago, New Orleans and now Phoenix!

Come out on May 2 , redicover downtown Phoenix and share your stories!

Welcome to Jane’s Walk Phoenix!

Jane’s Walk is coming to downtown Phoenix.  Jane’s Walk is an international series of free neighborhood walking tours that helps put people in touch with their environment and with each other, by bridging social and geographic gaps and creating a space for cities to discover themselves.   The walks are intended to honor the legacy and ideas of urban activist and writer Jane Jacobs who championed the interests of local residents and pedestrians over a car-centered approach to planning.

On May 2, 2009 join us in the inaugural Jane’s Walk Phoenix as we explore and rediscover the core of downtown Phoenix, including the Roosevelt neighborhood, Roosevelt Row and the Arts District, ASU’s Downtown Phoenix Campus, the new Civic Space and other key areas of downtown Phoenix.

The tour will run from 9:00 10 11:00 am.  It will start from Portland Park in downtown Phoenix.  Portland Park is located at N 1st Ave. and W Portland St., next to the Central at Roosevelt (Arts District) light rail station.

Stay tuned for more information, including more about Jane and her urban vision, walk attractions and ‘special guest’ tour guides.