Two Mississippi cities, Starkville and Jackson, will host Jane’s Walks this Saturday, May 2. Jane’s Walks are sponsored by the Center for the Living City as a way to commemorate the work of Jane Jacobs, who as you might remember wrote The Death and Life of Great American Cities, which I excerpted in a series back in March (is “excerpted” a word?). According to the Jane’s Walk website:
Jane’s Walk honors the legacy and ideas of urban activist and writer Jane Jacobs who championed the interests of local residents and pedestrians over a car-centered approach to planning. Jane’s Walk helps knit people together into a strong and resourceful community, instilling belonging and encouraging civic leadership. Jane’s Walk raises urban literacy by combining the simple act of walking with personal observations, urban history, planning, design and civic engagement. They help knit people together into a strong, connected and resourceful community.
Starkville’s walk will be in the downtown area, focusing on the stories behind the businesses and buildings. It begins at 9 AM at the Community Market. For more info about Starkville’s walk, click here.
Jackson’s walk will occur in the Fondren neighborhood, telling the story of the interesting antebellum history beginning with establishment of the state’s insane asylum and later the University Medical Center. The walk begins at Fondren Presbyterian Church at 10 AM. For more info, click here.
As you no doubt recall from an obscure reference I made 6 weeks ago, I recently read a book called Preserving New York, and something that struck me for the first time was the importance of walking tours in building the preservation movement beginning in the 1940s. Walking tours are simple, relatively easy, free (well, not always, but they should be), voluntary, and they don’t involve large government programs. But what the best ones do is allow people to see the world around them with new eyes, and they pass on the history of a place in the same way that it has always been best passed on: through looking and talking.
Jane’s Walks are about broader themes than just preservation (could anything be broader??) and might include all sorts of current neighborhood issues. If you’re in either Starkville or Jackson, I hope you’ll find your way to the start points and join a Walk.
In case you missed the excerpts that I excerpted from Death and Life: