Principles of a Jane’s Walk

For the Jane’s Walks that I was involved during May 2012, I figured out the basic principles by speaking with staff at the Jane’s Walk organization.

As part of the planning process, I also spoke with Denise Harris, Heritage Officer at the Etobicoke Historical Society, about the principles involved in the organizing of Heritage Walks.

The latter walks appear to me to feature more of a lecture-style format – but as with a Jane’s Walk, it’s clear that a Heritage Walk is not a walk leader’s personal soapbox; instead, it seeks to share a wider range of views and information.

As well, David Switzer read an early blog post I had written about the planning for the 2012 South Long Branch walk and commented that what I had described was more of a Heritage Walk than a Jane’s Walk. He outlined for me the difference between the two formats.

After the May 2012 Jane’s Walks, I learned that in some cases Toronto Heritage Walks are re-purposed as Jane’s Walks. Clearly, a wide range of possible options are available for Walk Leaders.

Such discussions were very helpful.

This year, to further refine my understanding, I’ve made a point of visiting the Jane’s Walk website, where the principles for Walk Leaders are outlined in a PDF file.


The above-noted Jane’s Walk PDF file outlines the principles as follows:

1. The Jane’s Walk Weekend takes place annually on the first weekend of May (close to Jane Jacob’s birthday on May 4th). Volunteers lead Jane’s Walks and participation is free.

2. 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.

3. 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, urban literacy and cities planned for and by people.

4. 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.

5. Walk Leaders lead the conversation with interesting insights and stories about their neighbourhood, and strongly encourage Walk participants to get involved and share their own opinions and observations.

6. Jane’s Walk supports engaged discussion between Walk Leaders and Walkers with differing opinions. Jane’s Walk does not tolerate hate speech. While we encourage the discussion of ideas and experiences, no Walk will be allowed that defames or excludes specific individuals or groups.

7. Jane’s Walk helps knit people together into a strong and resourceful community, instilling belonging and encouraging civic leadership.

8. Jane’s Walk often brings Jane Jacobs’ ideas to communities unfamiliar with her ideas, in order to advance local engagement with contemporary city-making and urban planning practices.

9. Local financial support of Jane’s Walk 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 with the Principles as listed above.


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