Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Jane's Walk USA: tours this weekend, and a missed opportunity for this year

Jane's Walk (based in Canada), is a group honoring the legacy of Jane Jacobs, author of Death and Life of the Great American City and other books key to the understanding of those factors which support the development and maintenance of local economies. From the website:

Free walking tours held on the first weekend of May each year are led by locals who want to create a space for residents to talk about what matters to them in the places they live and work. Since its inception in Toronto in 2007, Jane’s Walk has expanded rapidly. In May of 2010, 424 walks were held in 68 cities in nine countries.

In DC, the best known organizer of tours like this is the group CulturalTourismDC. They held tours in the spring and fall, including in May, somewhat negating "the need" to do Jane's Walk here in DC. However, effective this year, CulturalTourismDC's WalkingTown and BikingTown tours will only be in the fall, on two successive weekends, leaving a gap for tours in the Spring.

I propose that for next year in DC, blogs, neighborhood associations, commercial district revitalization groups, and historic preservation groups should organize tours on the first weekend in May, as part of a ground up "Jane's Walk" initiative.

In the meantime, people can participate in Jane's Walks this weekend, across the US, in the following cities:

Anchorage, AK; Austin, TX; Baton Rouge, LA; Brunswick, ME; Boston, MA; Chattanooga, TN; Heber Valley, UT; Houston, TX; Jackson, MS; Kansas City, MO; Mesa, AZ; New York City, NY; New Orleans, LA; Oakland, CA; Philadelphia, PA; Phoenix, AZ; Sacramento, CA; Salt Lake City, UT; San Francisco, CA; Scranton, PA.

Walks will be held in a number of countries around the world as well.

The mother website has a number of useful resources for tour guides as well as for participants, including some kick butt primers on JJ's work: Five Jane Jacobs Primers.

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