• By: Keith Whittier

Jane’s Walk

Who Says Ottawa is Boring?  Here is the perfect opportunity to explore the outdoors of the city we love to live in. Jane’s Walk Ottawa is a weekend festival of walking tours led by local volunteers who are passionate about living in Canada’s capital city. It’s an event that concentrates on improving urban literacy by simply exploring the city around us and taking note of the historical architecture as well as the beauty we tend to miss. The event will take place May 3 and 4.

This year will be the sixth local celebration of the work of Jane Jacobs. You’re probably wondering, why should I walk for Jane Jacobs? This woman was an urbanist and activist who had a community-based approach to becoming familiar, designing, organizing and creating cities. She was never formally trained in the field of planning but she released a best-seller The Death and Life of Great American Cities which proposes fresh ideas that would ensure the organic energy of urban America. Jacob’s ideas centralized around urban space, life and infrastructure. Apparently in her vision cities were seen as eco-systems with their own dynamics that would change within time resulting how they were used. With a fierce eye for detail, she elaborated her writing when it came to sidewalks, parks, retail design, and self-organization. She encouraged higher density, short blocks, local economies, and mixed uses. Jacobs helped derail the car-centered approach to urban planning in both New York City and Toronto, demonstrating neighborhood activism by helping stop the expansion of expressways and roads. She inspired those around her because after Jacobs’ death in 2006, a group of her friends came up with this organization as a way of honouring her creative ideas and celebrating her legacy. Jane’s Walk launched on May 5, 2007 and is celebrated in cities annually.

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody,” stated Jacobs in her book mentioned above.

Jane’s Walk is a global event. In 2012 Jane’s Walk was held in 85 cities and 19 countries, including London, Paris, Oslo, St. Petersburg, Madrid, Lisbon, Italy and Venezuela. This event is continuing to grow internationally, and is held on the same weekend all across North America. Together we are walking for Jane Jacobs, an inspiring woman who believed in herself and her creative ideas. If you’re looking to volunteer for this event please visit http://bit.ly/1i7yYm0 and you shall be provided with all necessary information. Happy walking!!