Walking into the Future

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April 29, 2013

In 1961, Jane Jacobs published ‘The Death and Life of Great American Cities‘ and in so doing sparked an international conversation about how cities do and should work. When we talk today about urbanism, where cities are most vibrant when they are designed for people to cross paths and interact with each other, we are talking about Jacob’s novel ideas. Starting in Toronto in 2007, Jane’s Walks have been held across the country to celebrate Jacobs’ ideas about urbanism, neighbourhood by neighbourhood.

I’ve written a few times about Northdale, the near-campus neighbourhood for which Council very wisely endorsed a new plan for its next twenty years. The vision is fundamentally an urban one, with pedestrian scale activity and built form. So, when the good people affiliated with Jane’s Walk asked the public to put their communities’ unique stories on display for their annual weekend, I saw sharing the success story of  a new Northdale as a perfect fit.

On Saturday, May 4 at 2 p.m., local resident Christine Carmody and I will be leading a walk through Northdale talking about what the future might hold for the neighbourhood. We’ll be starting and ending at Veteran’s Green, anchoring the future in the history of this important part of our City’s evolving story. We’ll be joined by others that can help tell their own part of the future, helping to round out the story. More details are at the Jane’s Walk site.

If you have 90 minutes on Saturday, I’d be pleased to have you there. A neighbourhood’s story is told by everyone who lives, works, shops, studies, and plays in it, and the story will be better told with you there.