Community members will walk around Nanaimo this weekend and think about what the same walk might look like in future years.
An event called Jane’s Walk is happening Saturday, May 5. It’s something that happens around the world, said local organizer Tyler Brown, and is named for Jane Jacobs, a writer and activist who called for community co-operation in city planning.
“Jane’s Walk encourages people to share their stories about their neighbourhood, discover the unseen aspects of their communities and use walking as a way to connect with their neighbours,” Brown said.
There are a few different themes that will come up, including walkability, which Brown said is essential to urban life.
“The activity on the street, how the street interfaces with the buildings, whether they’re for commercial use or residential use, hopefully both, Jane Jacobs wrote at length about how those really create the character of the city and how they’re so important to community life.”
He said Nanaimo’s first Jane’s Walk is timely because of the interest around empty buildings and properties in transition.
“Our downtown is going through a little bit of a hard time with obviously some abandoned sites and the recent fire to the Jean Burns Building,” said Brown. “But that almost seems like the perfect opportunity to get people out and walking and talking in the city and seeing what works, what’s not working and also being inspired to start thinking about what they want the city to look like five, 10, 15 years from now.”
He said there will be urban design professionals, community leaders, architects and the like speaking at stops along the walk, but the hope is that members of the public will participate and join in the discussions that happen along the way.
The walk is free, open to anyone and will take a little more than an hour. The walk starts Saturday at 2 p.m. at Nanaimo City Hall, 455 Wallace St. For more information, follow this link.