On May 3, 2015, my wife Gail Perry, and I will be leading a Jane’s Walk from our sylvan Wolseley neighbourhood to the James Richardson International Airport (YWG).
Jane’s Walk is an international phenomena, a day or two each year where citizens across the globe lead tours of their neighbourhoods, talk about what works, what has failed and challenges faced.
Jane’s Walks are dedicated to the memory of Jane Jacobs (1916-2006). Jane was an urbanist who reflected in a common sense, community-based understanding of how cities function – or don’t function – beautifully illuminated in her 1961 treatise, The Death and Life of Great American Cities.
“No one can find what will work for our cities by looking at … suburban garden cities, manipulating scale models, or inventing dream cities. You’ve got to get out and walk.”
Jane Jacobs said that in 1957. Welcome to Jane’s Walk.
If you have been following my blog posts on walkclickmake, you will know two things:
First, my wife and I like to walk. Short walks in our Winnipeg home base. Long walks across countries like Spain (the 900 km Camino de Santiago), the Czech Republic (the 600 km Prague-to-Vienna Greenway) and, this fall, Japan (the 1100 km pilgrimage around the island of Shikoku).
Second, as a photographer my current work focusses on the creative intersection of my two favourite occupations: photography and walking. Two recent projects (documented on walkclickmake and made into small art books), explore this theme: “Walking Styxx: a month of psychogeographic walks with a greyhound” and “A Dérive to the Airport” (the precursor of this Jane’s Walk).
Both titles are rooted in psychogeographic experiments. “Psychogeography” is a term of art adopted by Guy Debord and promoted by the Situationist International in 1955 to describe an unplanned, uncharted, pedestrian amble (called a dérive or drift) designed to take the walker beyond the conventions of imposed road maps, directions, what-have-you to, understand geography on a purely sensory level.
Walking to YWG will truly take you out of charted pedestrian territory. It is a chance to experience a part of our city from a perspective typically only glimpsed at through the car windshield. At pedestrian speed and out of the vehicle’s protective steel shell, the walker can appreciate the nuances of a human-scaled residential neighbourhood crouching in the shadows of a mega-scaled industrial landscape.
On our Jane’s Walk, we will be providing the usual historic information about this building and that person. However, it is important to value the experiential value of exploring a part of our city normally out-of-bounds.
My next blog, post will get into the practicalities of our Jane’s Walk. In the meantime, the basic details regarding the walk can be found on the Jane’s Walk website at: http://janeswalk.org/canada/winnipeg/plane-jane-walk-airport/
Gail and I look forward to walking with you on May 3!