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Jane Jacobs

A story of a citizen activist

Jane Jacobs (1916-2006) was an urbanist and activist whose writings championed a fresh, community-based approach to city building. She saw cities as ecosystems that had their own logic and dynamism which would change over time according to how they were used.


With a keen eye for detail, she wrote eloquently about sidewalks, parks, retail design and self-organization. At the core of her work and thinking was the need to get out and walk your city and observe how people, through their actions and interactions, create communities with a strong sense of belonging.

Learn about Jane's Ten Big Ideas. 

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The movement Jane inspired…

Jane’s Walk was founded in Toronto in May 2007 as a living, walking commemoration of Jane and her legacy. Annually, tens of thousands of people all over the world take part in Jane’s Walk during the first weekend in May to coincide with her birthday.


Jane’s Walk is a grassroots movement to city building that uses volunteer-led walking tours to make spaces for people to observe, reflect, share, question, and re-imagine the places in which they live, work and play; giving agency to and championing the voices of everyday people.


A Jane’s Walk is a walking conversation that can be about anything. These walks hold space for the perspectives of anyone who has a story to tell.

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In 2019 in honour of Jane Jacobs's 100th birthday, artist James Gulliver Hancock presents Jane Jacobs’s main principles regarding our cities. Illustration was commissioned in partnership by the Municipal Art Society of New York, Project for Public Spaces & Curbed.

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