Jane's Walks are free guided, volunteer led walking tours of urban centers throughout the United States, Canada, and cities throughout the world. Since the Jane's Walk movement was founded in 2007, the tours have been organized in 33 cities from New York to Calcutta on six continents.
Jane's Walks are organized around the "eyes on the street" philosophy of Jane Jacobs, the American-Canadian writer and critic of establishment urban planning. Jacobs, who passed away in 2006, opposed the efforts of establishment urban planners to change the quality of urban neighborhoods. Jane's Walks take place every year in the first week of May, as a celebration of Jane Jacobs' birthday.
Jane opposed the "gentrification" of neighborhoods, and the changing of neighborhoods to satisfy the interests of developers. Her most famous fight was her battle to save landmark Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village, New York City from being overrun by a highway. The Jane's Walk movement recognizes Jacobs' contribution by encouraging people to enjoy the special historic and scenic character of individual urban neighborhoods.
The Institute for Spatial Policies, an independent urban space consulting organization in Ljubljana, Slovenia administers the world wide Jane's Walk program. The institute publishes a manual on how to run a Jane's Walk.
Jane's Walk tours vary with the volunteer guide and from neighborhood to neighborhood. In some cases they seem to take a point of view that is unquestioning and positive about the state of urban development. Sometimes they seem to express a level of joyous acceptance that Jane, herself, may not have shared. However, as the movement grows so does the enthusiasm of the participants about the future of where they live.
To organize a Jane's Walk or a Jane's Walk festival for the neighborhood where you live you can begin by contacting http://www.janeswalk.org/ . You fill out a brief survey to describe your interests and how much involvement you wish to have. Then the organization will contact you with details.
If you want more information about Jane's Walks near you visit http://janeswalk.org/
September 18th, 2014
by Mark Minoff