Jane's Walk

Organization Sponsor: Tides Canada Initiatives


Program Description

Jane's Walk is an annual series of volunteer led walks in communities around the world in honor of author and urban activist Jane Jacobs. Do you have a story to tell? Do you know your neighbourhood like the back of your hand? or perhaps you’re a recent newcomer and can share your experience of learning about your new city? Do you have an idea for a fun, informative, unusual way of looking at cities and neighbourhoods? You could lead a Jane’s Walk!

There are only two rules: walks should be taken and given for free, and they should be walking conversations. The rest is entirely up to the walkers, and the conversation topics are as varied as the people taking part, from art and architecture to potholes and shortcuts and from video surveillance to the urban forest: anything that helps you and others better understand our cities and neighbourhoods as places and spaces.

The Jane’s Walk Project Team, based in Toronto, supports groups and individuals who want to lead walks in their city. Because it’s in the nature of the event to be free and volunteer-led, we do not provide funding or sponsorship, but we provide resources and services to help you to lead a Jane’s Walk in your city. We can also connect you to a local City Organizer in your city.

The main Jane’s Walk event takes place annually on the first weekend of May, to coincide with Jane Jacobs’ birthday. Jane’s Walks can be organized and offered any other time of the year by enthusiastic local people or organizations, although the first weekend in May is where we focus our organizational energies and resources.

Funding Sources: 

Jane’s Walk is generously supported by a range of funders, government agencies, foundations, corporations, community groups and individuals.

Strategies For Sustainability: 

The Jane’s Walk Project Office is here to help you plan, promote and share your walk. We provide you with resources, put you in touch with local organizers in participating cities and answer all your questions about leading a Jane’s Walk. We are a small team, but we love to share what we’ve learned over the years to help you organize a successful walk of your own. Our website is a shared resource, with documents to download, a list of all walks and contact details for event organizers in all participating cities globally. Every city has a dedicated web page, where your walk will be listed.

Impact Of Program: 

Local volunteers who annually organize more than 600 community walks. In May of 2011, 511 walks were held in 75 cities in 15 countries worldwide.

Evaluation Tools: 

The Ontario Trillium Foundation has provided funding for one year to perform research, develop and test partnerships, and produce operational plans for five strategic initiatives.

Key Elements Towards Success: 

Jane’s Walks can be developed and organized in a matter of days. Now that you’ve decided you want to lead a walk, you just decide what you want to talk about, plan out a route, write up a description of the tour, set a meeting location and start time, upload all your information to our website, and get the word out to friends, locals, stakeholders, city official, anyone you might want to attend your walk – it’s that simple!

Challenges To Meet Them: 

Through the simple act of walking together and discussing what makes a neighbourhood, Jane’s Walk helps knit people together into strong and resourceful communities.

Length and Stage of Project: 

Since its inception in Toronto in 2007, Jane’s Walk has expanded rapidly.

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