Nationwide “Jane’s Walks” Show What Makes Cities Livable

Released: 12-Apr-2010 4:15 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: University of Utah
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Newswise — Free, neighborhood walking tours will be held the first weekend in May across the country—from Boston to Los Angeles—to celebrate and explore the livability and vibrancy of cities by those who actually live in them.

“The annual Jane’s Walks in the United States are a project of community-minded students in architecture and planning at the University of Utah,” said Stephen Goldsmith, associate professor of city and metropolitan planning at the U. “The walks in cities large and small are organized to encourage people to explore where they live and, most important, take action to influence these places for the better.”

Jane’s Walks so named in honor of city-lover Jane Jacobs, are currently scheduled in 21 U.S. cities, 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.

HIGHLIGHTED WALKS:
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 residential and shopping 15th and 15th district. The commitment of small business owners—like Betsy Burton of The King’s English Bookstore, where the walk in Salt Lake starts—has maintained the walkable scale of this popular area.

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 authentic urbanism in central Phoenix.

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 U’S COLLEGE OF ARCHITECTURE+PLANNING:
The College of Architecture + Planning (CA+P)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. CA+P educates future professionals who are concerned with constructing and maintaining the highest quality in our built and natural environments.


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