The third annual Jane’s Walk (Regina version) goes Saturday and Sunday. As most of you probably know, Jane Jacobs was an influential urban planner/theorist with ties to New York and Toronto. In the early 1960s, she began to express concern about the wisdom of planning our cities almost exclusively around the idea of automobile travel.
That’s pretty much what happened in the post-WWII boom era when surging private automobile ownership permitted people to relocate from central city neighbourhoods to sprawling suburbs. Not only has this sprawl created a ticking infrastructure time bomb that is going to require an estimated $130 billion investment in cities across Canada in the next decade to repair and replace roads, bridges, sidewalks, sewer and water lines, etc.; it’s also led to the creation of all sorts of non-human scale urban environments, like east end Regina, that are ugly, uncomfortable and unsafe for people to inhabit and move through.
To help rediscover the joys of walking through neighbourhoods and learning more about their unique history and heritage, community-minded groups in cities across North America started holding Jane’s Walks in 2007. As it happens, 2011 is the 50th anniversary of the publication of Jacobs’ book The Death and Life of Great American Cities in which she first articulated her ideas about what makes or breaks a truly great city.
For more info on walks that are being held in Regina visit: http://janeswalk.net/cities/list/category/regina
And if you’re planning to attend, here’s some tips from organizers:
1. Wear sensible shoes – something cushy and supportive. But that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice fashion. After all, Nancy Sinatra recommends boots made for walking.
2. Dress for the weather – all walks go rain or shine. It’s easy to stay warm and dry if you layer up and bring an umbrella if it looks like rain.
3. Plan your Jane’s Walk itinerary ahead of time. Confirm the dates and times your tours are offered on the website or download the new Jane’s Walk iPhone app.
4. Ask questions – offer insights. Jane’s Walk works best when the tour has a friendly, conversational feel. Introduce yourself to fellow walkers, volunteers and guides. Be curious.
5. Consider attending walks in neighbourhoods you already know and even live or work in, to deepen your appreciation and networks in the area.
6. Cultivate your curiosity – venture farther afield and find out what is wonderful about neighbourhoods you’ve only heard about in the media or didn’t even know existed. Be adventurous.
7. Take lots of pictures, savour the sites and sounds. Stop in at a café, pub or restaurant and linger. Develop your own impression of an area and share it with others.
8. Get in close – in order to hear the tour guides stand close to the speakers. Remember to leave enough room on the sidewalk for people to pass by and make sure to cross at the corners.
9. Share your thoughts and feedback with us on our website, on Twitter and on Facebook.
10. Thank the hosts and volunteers for giving their time to this thrilling insider’s guide to local communities.