Take a (Jane’s) Walk!

Jane Jacobs‘ thinking on cities, urban planning and urban systems lives through all of her many books, and also through the annual Jane’s Walks that signal the beginning of some great summer weather.

My Jane Story

Jane was an inspirational woman and an icon for a new type of city planning and for different ways of thinking about cities. I was fortunate as a grad student to have met her.  In 1997, I traveled from Vancouver to Toronto to deliver a plenary lecture at the 5th Congress for the New Urbanism  (they are now on Congress 24!). I arrived early at the venue at the University of Toronto, so I asked if there was anything I could do to help out. The author Peter Katz (The New Urbanism: Toward an Architecture of Community) said “sure, can you hand-deliver these tickets to Jane Jacobs?”. That made me smile. I made my way on the subway to her place on Albany Avenue and had a nice chat with her.

Five years later, Jane was completing what was to be her last book. Her son Ned forwarded Jane my MA Thesis (Retrofitting Suburbs) and I soon found myself assisting with a review of a couple chapters of the manuscript  for Dark Age Ahead. A few weeks after I sent some final comments and suggestions, a letter arrived in the post. It was tapped out on a manual typewriter  and marked up with a bit of correction fluid here and there – thanking me for my thesis and for my contribution to her book. I keep the letter today in the sleeve of my copy of Dark Age. Her thoughtfulness equaled her great intellect.

What is great is that Jane’s ideas and energy are kept alive by her foundation and these great events.

Sign up for a Jane’s Walk! Link below:

janes walk