Coast-to-Coast "Jane's Walks" Celebrate What Makes Cities Livable
Nate Currey, Jane's Walk USA
Stephen Goldsmith, Center for the Living City
Brad Baird, University of Utah College of Architecture + Planning
City dwellers take to sidewalks May 1, 2 to explore in footsteps of urbanist Jane Jacobs
SALT LAKE CITY – April 19, 2010 — Jane Jacobs (1916-2006) was neither architect nor urban planner, but she was a specialist in the study of cities. Her writings championed a fresh, community-based approach to city building and have left a lasting imprint on a generation of professionals.
Now, others with a stake in improving the livability and vibrancy of cities — those who actually live in them — also have an opportunity to be influenced by Jacobs' work by taking part in a "Jane's Walk". These free, neighborhood walking tours will be held the first weekend in May across the country and create opportunities for neighbors to explore their environs together on foot.
"The annual Jane's Walks in the US are a project of community-minded students in planning at the University of Utah in partnership with the Center for the Living City," said Stephen Goldsmith, Associate Professor of City and Metropolitan Planning at the U. "The walks in cities large and small will honor Jacobs' life and work in a way that encourages people to explore where they live and, most important, take action to influence these places for the better."
Walks are currently scheduled in 35 U.S. cities from Boston to Los Angeles, and more are being added daily. To find a walk in your city or to organize your own, check the schedule at www.janeswalkusa.org.
LOS ANGELES Car-Less: The walk through the MacArthur Park Roundabout is being coordinated by Smart Gals, an LA-based non-profit devoted to building community in the city. The walk is fully car-free and wheelchair accessible. Christine Louise Berry, who will lead the walk, was recently part of "Without a Car in the World", an art project that profiled 100 car-less Angelenos.
SALT LAKE CITY Business/Neighborhood: This walk will explore an iconic Salt Lake neighborhood and along the way meet many who have helped ensure the authenticity of the inviting 15th and 15th district. The commitment of small business owners, like Betsy Burton of The King's English Bookstore, where the walk starts, has made the neighborhood a favorite destination.
BOSTON Tracks: This walk will follow old train tracks (now a dedicated walk/bike path) between North Cambridge and Somerville's Davis Square. Contiguous neighborhoods reveal a fascinating mixture of recreational, industrial, commercial, and residential uses dating from the 19th century to the present. Boston resident Glenna Lang, illustrator and co-author of "Genius of Common Sense" about Jane Jacobs, will lead the walk.
BROOKLYN Waterfront: The walk will traverse the history of the Columbia Waterfront District and surrounding Cobble Hill West neighborhood from its heyday in the 1930s to the present. Walkers will explore the once-bustling waterfront as well current challenges facing the area. Wylie Goodman, Brooklyn resident and psychologist, will lead the tour.
PHOENIX Renewal: This tour will cover Phoenix's historic warehouse district, celebrating new uses for old building and highlighting potential opportunities for new ideas. The walk has been organized by Yuri Artibise, urban blogger and self-described "place maker" who is interested in creating and sustaining a authentic urbanism in central Phoenix.
THE CITY & FILM: Jane's Walk USA and Spy Hop Productions have teamed up for an exciting walk. Participants will bring video or digital cameras to document the urban landscape of downtown Salt Lake City. Nate and Paige from Jane's Walk USA will share stories illustrating how the city can be used as the main character in a story. Frank from Spy Hop will be giving pointers on the technical side of photography and videography.
ABOUT JANE JACOBS: Jacobs was a specialist in the study of cities. A firm believer in the importance of local residents having input on how their neighborhoods develop, Jacobs encouraged people to familiarize themselves with the places where they live, work and play. Her 1961 treatise, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, introduced ground-breaking ideas about how cities function, evolve and fail, that now seem like common sense to generations of architects, planners, politicians and activists. Jacobs helped derail the car-centered approach to urban planning in both New York and Toronto, invigorating neighborhood activism by helping stop the expansion of expressways and roads. She lived in Greenwich Village for decades, then moved to Toronto in 1968 where she continued her work and writing on urbanism, economies and social issues until her death in April 2006.
ABOUT THE CENTER FOR THE LIVING CITY: Inspired by the work of Jane Jacobs, the Center for the Living City's purpose is to enhance our understanding of the complexity of contemporary urban life and through it, promote increased civic engagement of citizens who care deeply for their communities. Through generative portals including symposia, exhibitions, fellowships, workshops, and publications, individuals and organizations can connect with others addressing the interrelated issues of economies, ecologies, society and city building.
ABOUT THE U'S COLLEGE OF ARCHITECTURE+PLANNING:
The College of Architecture + Planning at the University of Utah facilitates an educational community of students, faculty, and staff with interests and expertise in creative design, building, planning, computer technology, issues of social and ecological responsibility, and the scholarly study of the history and theory of the built landscape. We educate future professionals who are concerned with constructing and maintaining the highest quality in our built and natural environments.
University of Utah Public Relations
308 Park Building
Salt Lake City, UT 84112