Everyone neighbourhood tells a story. From its own unique history to its colourful residents, there are so many stories waiting to be told…and heard. This is the premise of Jane’s Walk. A citizen-led neighbourhood conversation to learn about where we live, to get to know our neighbours and to make new connections to those around us.
Jane Jacobs (1916-2006) was a writer and urban activist who used the voices of everyday people in neighbourhood planning and city building. In 2006, a group of Jane’s friends in Toronto wanted to honour her and continue the work she had started. They founded the first Jane’s Walk and it has captured the hearts and imaginations of people around the world. In 2017, over 37 countries held a Jane’s Walk to help bring the stories of friends and neighbours to the community.
Last year, Brantford and area participated in many Jane’s Walk’s. Coordinated through Community Living Brant, walks took participants through new neighbourhoods, explored the stories of our communities past and help open the minds of participants to new ideas and approaches. Some of the walks included: All Abilities Walk, Equal Ground Garden Walk, Mt. Pleasant History Walk, Intergenerational Walk, Downtown Central Neighbourhood Association, A walking Tour of Six Nations History Along the Grand River and an Anti-Stigma Jane’s Walk
There are nine Principles to Jane’s Walk:
- Anyone can lead a Jane’s Walk at any time. The Global Festival Weekend takes place annually on the first weekend of May (close to Jane Jacobs’ birthday on May 4th). Volunteers lead Jane’s Walks and participation is free.
- Jane’s Walk is a non-partisan initiative that strives to include a wide array of voices and ideas in discussions about cities, neighbourhoods and community engagement.
- Jane’s Walk celebrates the legacy and ideas of urban activist and writer Jane Jacobs by getting people out exploring neighbourhoods and meeting their neighbours. Jane’s Walk promotes walkable neighbourhoods and cities planned for and by people.
- Jane’s Walk encourages an environment where people choose to walk, not merely as a recreational option, but as a viable and enjoyable way to carry out basic everyday tasks, improve health and increase social cohesion.
- Walk Leaders facilitate walking conversations with interesting insights and stories about their neighbourhood and encourage participants to get involved and share their own opinions and observations.
- Jane’s Walk does not tolerate hate speech. Any walk that defames or excludes specific individuals or groups will not be permitted.
- Jane’s Walk helps knit people together into strong and resourceful communities, instilling belonging and encouraging civic leadership.
- Jane’s Walks serve as a living, dynamic legacy of Jane Jacobs’ ideas. They explore, critique, and apply Jacobs’ ideas in order to advance local engagement with contemporary city-making and urban planning practices.
- Local financial support of Jane’s Walks is permitted, but no fees, charges or any promotion of commercial activities can be connected to the content or activities of any given walk. Any form of support of Jane’s Walk must adhere to the Principles as listed above.
This year’s Janes Walk will take place in Brantford and area May 3-5, 2019. If you have a story to tell and would like to lead a walk, contact Janes Walk Brantford for more information. Their Facebook page is where all the up to date information will be posted as well as the schedule of Jane’s Walks in Brantford and area. Join the event and help contribute to the vibrant and lively community that we live in!