Jane Jacobs was a pioneering author and advocate–not just a preservationist but a champion of community-based design. Best known for her opus, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jacob helped reshape the field of urban planning. In it she wrote, “there must be eyes upon the street, eyes belonging to those we might call the natural proprietors of the street. The buildings on a street … cannot turn their backs or blank sides on it and leave it blind.”
To mark the centennial of Jacobs birth, Greater New Orleans Water Collaborative and partners invite you to focus your eyes on the street in a new way. Join us for one of four walking tours on May 6 and 7. We’ll talk about the ways our neighborhoods have evolved over time–and the way that water management has influenced development patterns. We’ll consider how infrastructure repair, expanded historic districts and new stormwater rules impact neighborhoods.
Most of all, we’ll listen to you. A Jane Jacobs Walk is about observing a community in a new way and listening to what its residents have to say about their homes and their hopes for the future.
You can learn more and find walks happening around the country at janejacobswalk.org. You can learn more about Jacobs’s legacy at centerforthelivingcity.org. For further reading, try this Lens article, in which Roberta Brandes Gratz asks “What would Jane Jacobs make of our post-Katrina transition from ‘death’ to ‘life’?”