The Akron area is planning its second annual Jane’s Walk hosted by the Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study (AMATS) and Downtown Akron Partnership (DAP), to be held this spring on May 1-3. Jane’s Walk is an international festival that explores a local neighborhood, garden or place, and fosters open discussion as a way to promote a more pedestrian-friendly environment. In 2014, more than 1,000 walks were held in over 130 cities in 25 countries worldwide across six continents. And closer to home, Akron held three walks last year that drew more than 50 participants.
What is Jane’s Walk?
The Jane’s Walk festival is an annual series of free, volunteer-led urban walks that honor the legacy and ideas of urban planner and writer, Jane Jacobs, who lived from 1916-2006. The international festival is a tribute to Jane Jacobs and her idea that “cities can provide something for everybody only when they are created by everybody.” Since its inception in Toronto in 2007, communities around the world have been hosting Jane’s Walks on the first weekend of May for people to connect, share and develop ideas about where their communities and cities are and where they are headed. The walks are as varied as the people taking part. Through the simple act of walking and talking, the festival creates space for participants to experience firsthand existing conditions of the walk and to discuss ideas for improving the pedestrian presence through better connectivity.
Akron is well poised in expanding Jane’s Walk this spring, which truly could have a game-changing impact on the community. Walk organizers currently are seeking walk leaders to participate by leading a walk in an Akron neighborhood or location, one day from May 1-3. There are no qualifications for leading a walk – any and all citizens are invited to participate. The walks can be any length of time, may focus on a theme, and can be simple or unique and more in-depth. Each walk leader is asked to record their location, content covered in the walk, and video or photo coverage to document the walks. Walk leaders should also offer their perspective along the route and encourage the public to weigh in. For more information on leading a walk, or to sign up as a leader, visit the website.