Friday, May 4, 2012

Jane’s Walks

This weekend is special in the world of new urbanism.  Communities around the world are hosting “Jane’s Walks”.  Named after new urbanism pioneer Jane Jacobs, the walks are intended to highlight the pleasures of moving at low speed through urban settings.

A full summary of the philosophy behind Jane’s Walks and a list of walks available in the U.S. can be found here.  In Northern California, walks will be conducted in Oakland and Sacramento.  To me, the Sacramento walks, featuring an architectural tour of the State Capitol, a cemetery tour, and bicycling in seersucker suits, seem particularly appealing. 

Nor are Jane’s Walks limited to the U.S.   Ottawa and other Canadian cities are taking enthusiastic approaches.

Nor are the walks limited to ambulating.  Some are focused on architecture, others on the wildlife that thrives in a town setting.  As in Sacramento, some don’t even walk, using bicycles instead.  Or even unicycles.  A summary of the most interesting walks is provided here.

The North Bay has many well-organized and well-supported heritage walks.  But it seems to me that there might still be an opportunity for North Bay Jane’s Walks that celebrate the urbanism of successful towns.  I won’t lead the effort to organize North Bay Jane’s Walks, but if someone else is willing to accept that mantle, I’ll be a willing and eager committee member.  Guidelines from the Jane’s Walk organization are here.

As always, your questions or comments will be appreciated.  Please comment below or email me.  And thanks for reading. - Dave Alden (

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