/ Planning / Citizen Urban Planners to Help Shape Our Growing Cities

Citizen Urban Planners to Help Shape Our Growing Cities

Matt Ball on May 1, 2013 - in Planning, Projects, Transportation

Since its inception in 2007 the annual international phenomenon ‘Jane’s Walk’ has created an opportunity for people to actively engage in city planning. Over the course of one weekend– this year on May 4th and 5th– citizens in urban areas around the world will lead over 600 walking tours in their own communities to exchange personal stories about what’s important where they live. The experience is a celebration and an opportunity to share ideas with neighbours.

With a growing number of international communities participating in this year’s walk—90 cities and counting, and over 40 in Canada—it is beyond doubt that people care about their own communities and want to be involved as stewards of their transformation. Imagine over 25,000 artists, foodies, writers– people from all walks of life, taking to the streets to engage in frank discussion about everything from vibrant open air markets to urban forests to LGBT rights.

Jane’s Walk honours the legacy and ideas of urban activist and writer Jane Jacobs who championed the interests of local residents at a time when scale models and grand visions of the future removed designers from the experience of the city by foot. Jane’s Walk often takes Jacobs’ ideas to communities unfamiliar with her writing, in order to advance local engagement with contemporary urban planning practices. The walks help knit people together into strong and resourceful communities, instilling belonging and encouraging civic leadership.

New Operations Director Denise Pinto thinks that Jane’s ideas and democratic approach to city planning remain timely and relevant. “By 2035 sixty to seventy percent of the world’s population will live in cities; this means our cities are rapidly transforming and initiatives like Jane’s Walk are critical for ensuring that local residents have a voice in shaping what they can be.”

Everyone can attend a Jane’s Walk and all tours are free of charge.

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