This past weekend Montrealers had a chance to familiarize themselves and get more involved in their communities.
Jane Jacobs, born in 1916, whose 100th anniversary would have taken place on May 4, was an influential American writer, activist and urban thinker, who later became a Canadian citizen and lived in Toronto until her death in 2006.
Known for her critique of the modernist current, suburban sprawl, single use neighborhoods and car centered urban planning, Jacobs’ centenary inspired projects in support of her theories in major cities around the world.
The Montreal Urban Ecology Center, whose mission to develop urban practices for green, democratic and healthy cities has, for a number of years, been honoring Jacobs’ legacy by organizing locally led tours of different neighborhoods in Montreal.
A group of around 20 people followed Magda Popeanu as she led the Jane’s Walk in Cote-Des-Neiges where she is city councilor. She described the neighborhood’s beginnings over 300 years ago as a small village, north of the city of Montreal located south of the mountain, and the architectural and cultural evolution ever since.
Popeanu spoke of her hopes of making CDN more pedestrian friendly and boosting local economic activity by trying to keep the roughly 2 million yearly tourists visiting the Oratoire St-Joseph, in the neighborhood.
On another Jane’s walk in Verdun, Marie Andrée Mauger, borough councilor, focused on the neighborhood’s greening efforts, which have been significant in the past couple of years and the success they’ve had in community involvement in their village-like borough.
From Pointe-aux-Trembles to Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Jane’s Walks are a great way to learn about the city, so that residents can participate and help shape important decisions about land-use planning, neighborhood revitalization, social, community and economic development in the public space.
“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” — Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities
Jane’s Walks took place on May 6-8. Details HERE.