Jul 4th, 2017 by Mark at PocketMaps
Jane's Walks are free guided and volunteer-led walking tours of urban centers throughout the United States, Canada, and cities worldwide. 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 establishing 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 communities to satisfy developers' interests. 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. Jane's Walk movement recognizes Jacobs' contribution by encouraging people to enjoy individual urban neighborhoods' unique historic and scenic character.
The Institute for Spatial Policies, an independent urban space consulting organization in Ljubljana, Slovenia, administers the worldwide 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 participants' enthusiasm for the future of where they live.
To organize Jane's Walk or a Jane's Walk festival for the neighborhood you live in, you can begin by contacting them here. 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 or creating a pocket-sized custom map for your community walk-event, contact us.