Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Jane's Walk USA

I recently learned about this international event honoring the Jane Jacobs, the author of the Death and Life of Great American Cities and generally awesome urban planning thinker (and wearer of surprisingly cool glasses, see below).

What better way to honor an urban planner than by walking around a city? Jane's Walk USA is an annual series of neighborhood walks that teach people about urban planning and introduce them to their community (especially the parts that they might not notice while gazing out of their windshields). Begun in 2007 by a set of Jane's friends, the walks can be led by anyone with an interest in planning, walking, architecture, or other social issues facing city residents.

As the groups website describes "Jane’s Walk honors the legacy and ideas of urban activist and writer Jane Jacobs who championed the interests of local residents and pedestrians over a car-centered approach to planning. Jane’s Walk helps knit people together into a strong and resourceful community, instilling belonging and encouraging civic leadership."

This year there are two walks planned in the Los Angeles area (the website has info on walks--and "rolls"-- in other cities). Here are the details:

MacArthur Park Roundabout

The walk will take in design structures along the lake, pass the Park Plaza Hotel, visit new construction in the area, and will include a brief visit to Mama’s Hot Tamales, founded as an economic development project by the Institute for Urban Research and Development.

Time: 2pm-3:30pm
Dates: Both Saturday and Sunday, May 1 & 2, 2010
Meeting Place: MacArthur Park Red Line Station
Host Organization: Smart Gals

Downtown L.A.
The walk will focus on the single-use government district of downtown, populated by government buildings and a critique/discussion of the open spaces and promenade connecting these mono-use buildings. From the Civic Center we will continue to pass by some newly developed buildings for their architecture and their dedication to the arts. The walk will end as we stroll down the old theater district of Broadway, passing through Grand central market, many historic buildings (such as the Million Dollar Theater and the Bradbury Building), and see the organic development of this often overlooked part of Downtown.

Time: 9:30-11:00am
Dates: Saturday May 1, 2010
Meeting Place: We will start in the Civic Center on the steps of the Spring St. entrance of City Hall, off the Civic Center red line stop, and end the walk at the Pershing Square red line station. Host: Diana Kitching, City of Los Angeles

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