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Today is now Jane Jacobs Day

Yesterday, Mayor Miller officially announced that May 4th will henceforth be known as Jane Jacobs Day in the city of Toronto.

"As a writer, outspoken urban activist, a philosopher of everyday life and an innovator, her work brought into focus the idea that cities are engines of growth whose vitality stems from the variety of activities people engage in," continued Mayor Miller. "She taught us about eyes on the street and that walkable, dense, compact and diverse neighbourhoods were the hallmarks of a healthy and prosperous city."

The day will feature the first annual "Jane's Walk"; a guided walking tour taking place in several neighbourhoods across the city; highlighting that areas people, places and public spaces.

Jacobs, who passed away in April of 2006 at the age of 89, was considered one of the most influential activist in development, or the rallying cry against it, in the GTA. One of the first proponents of smart urban planning, she worked tirelessly to draw attention to the need for vibrant communities and open neighbourhoods to encourage "livable cities"

In its annual "Big Ideas" double-issue, Adbuster's contributer Clayton Dach penned an article looking back on Jacobs life and work. When he tried to encapsulate Jacobs' politics and purpose, here's what he came up with:

Neither rightist nor leftist, she describer herself as the enemy of ideology and a critic of sutbborn and stupid authority. She argued that healthy cities had to grown organically, and that a key part of a city's social and cultural cohesion is entrepreneuship.


Photograph taken from P.S. Kensington by Robert Daives, City of Toronto.


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