. . . lively, diverse, intense cities contain the seeds of their own regeneration, with energy enough to carry over for problems and needs outside themselves.
The Death and Life of Great American Cities
Jane’s Walk USA is a 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. Since its inception in 2007, Jane’s Walk has happened in cities across North America, and is growing internationally.
Jane’s Walk USA honors 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. Jane’s Walk USA helps knit people together into a strong and resourceful community, instilling belonging and encouraging civic leadership.
All Jane’s Walk USA 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 always about architecture and heritage, and offer 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 neighborhood 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.
Thousands of people have taken part in a Jane’s Walk USA. Past walks have explored a wide range of urban landscapes, from social housing slated for redevelopment to areas with a rich architectural and cultural heritage, to teen hangouts and secret gardens. Walks are led by individuals and small groups. Some are focused around historical themes more than geographical areas, for instance, some strolls have been built around ideas like the history of the bicycle, gay and lesbian history, places of relevance to the homeless, the history of ‘skid row’, and urgent planning matters facing certain neighborhoods.
Since its inception in 2007 in Toronto Canada, Jane’s Walk has happened in cities across North America, and is growing internationally.
Jane’s Walk was inaugurated on May 5, 2007 in Toronto by a group of Jane’s friends and colleagues who wanted to honor her ideas and legacy. Mayor David Miller declared it Jane Jacobs Day and twenty-seven local guides offered an insider’s take on the neighborhoods where they work, socialize and live. It expanded to New York City that fall and across Canada in 2008, exceeding all expectations: thousands of enthusiastic participants strolled through 141 neighbourhoods in eleven Canadian cities. In the Toronto Area, there were 69 walking tours, plus six student-led tours developed through the Jane’s Walk School Edition.
In 2009, Jane’s Walk expanded again across the continent, adding partner cities such as Salt Lake City, Montreal, Regina, New York, Chicago and New Orleans, and a tour in Mumbai, India. Over 350 walks were offered, in 46 cities involving more than 10,000 walkers.
n 2010 Jane’s Walks spanned 68 cities worldwide (29 in Canada, 32 in the U.S, 7 internationally) with 424 walking tours on offer. New Jane’s Walk events were held in such cities as Los Angeles, San Juan Puerto Rico, Seattle, Chattanooga, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Sault Ste Marie, Kamloops, Victoria. And Jane’s Walk expanded internationally with walks held in La Paloma Uruguay, Goa & Mumbai India, Dublin Ireland, Lusaka Zambia and Madrid Spain.
Accolades for Jane’s Walk in Canada!
Jane’s Walk was recognized as a Vital Idea by the Toronto Community Foundation in 2008.
Jane’s Walk was awarded the Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation’s ‘Active Transportation Champion’ award in 2008.
Jane Farrow, the Executive Director of Jane’s Walk, was recognized as a Vital Person by the Toronto Community Foundation in 2010.