Walk this Way: Jane’s Walk Phoenix is profiled in Sunset

What started with a Twitter conversation with a somewhat incredulous magazine editor (you mean people actually WALK in Phoenix?!?) almost six months ago has finally become a reality. The current (January 2010) issues of Sunset magazine includes a feature on a Jane’s Walk Phoenix. The article covers why I brought the walk to Phoenix as well as some of the encouraging developments in out downtown core. It also mentions Artlink Phoenix‘s First Friday Art Walk, the Morin House, Modified Arts; features a photograph of cycling ‘bodega’ HoodRide in Roosevelt Row; and highlights comments from my friends (and walk participants)  Catrina Knoebl and Jeremy Mudd.

Special thanks go to editor-at-large Allison Arieff for writing the great article, and photographer David Fenton for the amazing photographs. I would also like to thank all of those who participated in the Jane’s Walk event in May 2009 as well as those who came out for the photo shoot in September; the event and the article would not have been a success without you. Plans are already under way for Jane’s Walk 2010, with an expanded slate of events, including a ‘Jane’s Ride.’

You can check out some scanned pages of the article below, but I strongly suggest you make a trip down to the local magazine rack and pick up a copy for yourself. Sunset is a great publication deserving of your support. Besides, in addition to the feature on Jane’s Walk, this month’s issue has a lot of cool content, including a short profile of Helen and Jan of Sweet Republic ice cream.

This article has been cross-posted on my personal website, yuriartibise.com.


5 Facts About the Most Important Woman You Don’t Know

I came across this fact sheet on Jane Jacobs on Amazon.com:

Legendary urbanist, thinker, writer, and activist Jane Jacobs
“Jacobs was a woman of infinite humility, compassion, warmth and generosity of spirit. She reveled in challenging conversation with thoughtful people, listened carefully to citizen testimony at public hearings, never resisted the opportunity to stand up to power and wished only for people to continue the dialogue she started, not duplicate her words… Jacobs’s thought and writing comprise a resounding symphony of lessons and ideas; they compose a life’s work about economic, social and environmental justice.”

—The Nation

  1. Jane Jacobs, with no college degree, and never formally educated or professionally trained in urban planning, came to be the most famous urban planning critic and commentator of the 20th century.
  2. At a time when women were not involved in urban planning or government, as a young upstart journalist, Jacobs faced down legendary titan Robert Moses and successfully blocked his plans to destroy entire sections of Manhattan with massive highways.
  3. Her 1961 seminal work Death and Life of Great American Cities proposed radically new principles for rebuilding cities. At a time when common wisdom called for bulldozing slums and opening up city space, Jacobs’s prescription was ever more diversity, density and dynamism. Her book has been credited with reaching beyond planning issues to influence the spirit of the times.
  4. Critics used adjectives like “triumphant” and “seminal” to describe Death and Life of Great American Cities. Wolf Von Eckardt, writing in The Washington Post, observed that it has “proved more important than all the statistical studies of all our myriad urban centers.”
  5. Jacobs was a community organization pioneer: she organized massive grass-roots efforts to block urban-renewal projects that would have destroyed local neighborhoods. She inspired countless individuals and established the importance of citizen participation in community design.

In 1968, Jacobs was arrested on charges of second-degree riot and criminal mischief for disrupting a public meeting about the construction of a 10-lane elevated expressway, which would have sliced across Lower Manhattan and displaced thousands of families and businesses. The charges were dropped, and the expressway never got built.

Recent Readings: October 24-29

From my personal site www.yuriartibise.com:

A curation of what’s caught my attention over the past week:

  • Bad Example (or why we fail to adapt good examples): Attempts to answer the question “Why do so many places seem unable to learn even from their own successes, much less others?”  Key quote: “The mark of a great city is in how it treats its ordinary spaces, not its special ones.”
  • Gary Vaynerchuk Live on Crush It Tour (Video): A link to a video recording of a special Gary Vee’s presentation hosted by Doug Sutton with Keller Williams Realty East Valley. I admit that I was skeptical at first, but seeing him speak in front of two different audiences on Tuesday night made me a believer. Though his message was largely the same, he carefully tailored it to the different audience, keeping it fresh and interesting (if anything I though the second time was better suited to me personally, even with the lack of his trademark  ‘colorful language’.)  Gary is truly somebody who gets it. Not just business, or social media, or family, or community, but ALL of it.  If you follow the link to my friend Jay Thompson’s site and leave a comment on Jay’s original post, you can win a copy off Gary’s bestselling book Crush It!.
  • What Jane Jacobs Can Teach Us About the Economy: Jane Jacobs is well known for her contribution to urban thought.  After all, she recently led Planetizen’s recent Top 100 Urban Thinkers poll.   She is less well-known for her insights into economics, although that is quickly changing.  Here ‘s an overview of some of Jane’s economic notions and how they resonate during this recession.
  • Halloween Costumes for Urban Planners: And for a bit of fun to mark the end of October, here are some Halloween costume ideas from Planetizen’s Nate Berg for the incurable urbanist.

Jane Jacobs, Economist

“What Jane Jacobs Can Teach Us About the Economy” (full article here)

Most know Jane Jacobs as the ultimate champion of cities, who stood up against neighborhood demolition and saw a vibrant ballet where others saw urban squalor. But three years since her death — and a year into a downturn marked by bailouts, foreclosures and sky-high unemployment — her economic vision has come into the spotlight.

From Miller–McCune Online Magainze.

KunstlerCast #83: Jane Jacobs

One of my favorite resources for all things urban is the KunstlerCast, a weekly audio program about the tragic comedy of suburban sprawl.  It features James Howard Kunstler, author of The Geography of Nowhere, The Long Emergency and other books.  Each week host/producer Duncan Crary speaks with Kunstler weekly about the failure of suburbia and the inevitable end of this living arrangement ‘with no future’.

This weeks episode features a discussion of Jane Jacobs:

Planetizen, an urban planning website and book publisher, recently conducted a poll about the Top 100 Urban Thinkers. Jane Jacobs, author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities, made #1 on the list. Kunstler explains the story and importance of Jacobs. He also recollects interviewing her in 2000. Although at the time Jacobs was writing a book about the coming energy crisis, Dark Age Ahead, Kunstler said she didn’t seem interested in talking about “Long Emergency” issues during their conversation. A listener caller tells us why he thinks Sesame Street is a good model for urbanism.

You can download the podcast here.

From Car Spaces to People Places: Park(ing) Day is coming to Phoenix

pd2009_poster_commemorativeFollowing up on the successful Jane’s Walk Phoenix in May, a couple of friends and I are organizing another ‘place making’ event on Friday, September 18th.

PARK(ing) Day is an annual, one-day, global event that promotes the importance of green and urban public spaces as community activists, neighborhood leaders and urban planners step up to the curb, put a quarter in the meter, and proceed to transform curbside metered parking spots into temporary public parks. The event is intended to help people rethink the way we use our streets and creates diverse conversations about how we can make sustainable cities. This concept of PARK(ing) Day is based on the idea that putting money into a parking meter is like ‘renting’ a public space.

Jane Jacobs, in The Death and Life of Great American Cities wrote that, in order to make a city safe, prosperous and worth living in, one must start with “lively and interesting streets.” With this end in mind, Park(ing) Day PHX is an opportunity to create community, engage the public and begin a dialogue on topics ranging from city parks and public space to the environment to mobility options and community improvement projects.

The Park(ing) Day PHX spaces will be located adjacent to ASU Downtown, on 1st St. between Polk St. and Fillmore St. between 7 and 9 a.m.

PARK(ing) Day was originally created in 2005 by Rebar, a San Francisco-based art and design studio, as an experimental exploration in repurposing public space. Since then has been creatively adapted and sparked imaginations around the world.

For more details on Park(ing) Day in general, visit www.ParkingDay.org or contact me via email.

If you living in Phoenix, I hope you can stop by and support us. You can RSVP on Facebook or Yelp.

Here are some pictures from past Park(ing) Day events in other cities.

Clevland 2006

Cleveland 2006

Los Angles, 2008

Spokane, 2007

Brooklyn, 2006

Brooklyn, 2006

Stay tuned for pictures from the inaugural Phoenix event!

[Cross-posted on YuriArtibise.com]

Quick Take: Dave Byrne on Mixed Use

In a recent Wall Street Journal column, former Talking Heads front man David Byrne discusses the elements that he would expect in a ‘perfect city’ and gives examples of cities that exemplifies his preferred qualities. and those that don’t.  One of the elements he discusses is  Jane Jacobs principle of ‘mixed uses’:

Mixed use

David Bryne in Budapest.  Photo by Natalie Kuhn

David Bryne in Budapest. Photo by Natalie Kuhn

This is a Jane Jacobs phrase. A perfect city is where different things are going on, relatively close to each other, at different times of the day. A city isn’t a strip of hotels and restaurants on a glorious beach; it’s a place where there are restaurants and hotels, but also little stores, fashion boutiques, schools, houses, offices, temples and banks. The healthy neighborhood doesn’t empty out at 6 p.m., as most of downtown L.A. does. In my perfect city there would always be something going on nearby.