The Five “Jane’s Walk” Tours in Philadelphia You Should Definitely Go To
If senioritis kicked in early when you were in college and you subsequently “forgot” to do the assigned The Death and Life of American Great Cities reading, now’s your chance to semi-redeem yourself: Jane’s Walk will happen in Philly this weekend. You should go.
Hold up. What’s Jane’s Walk? Glad you asked, friend. It’s a multi-day event inspired by writer/activist Jane Jacobs and involves a series of locally-organized walking tours in cities throughout the world. The free excursions delve into urbanist issues and examine their respective city’s walkability, hidden histories, and neighborhood corridors. This year, PlanPhilly’s Ashley Hahn was the Jane’s Walk Philadelphia organizer.
We took a look at the program and, unsurprisingly, found that we wanted to go to all of them. If you feel the same way (take a look at the full roster here), but find times or previous engagements prevent you from attending, here are five Philly Jane’s Walk tours you should put at the top of your to-do list:
- Breaking up the University City High School Superblock — Friday May 1st, 4:00pm
“How do physical barriers shape community?” “How will returning the street grid to the high school site help to foster a sense of place?” These and other questions will be discussed in the James Wright-guided excursion that will take a turn around 40th and Market and Powelton Avenue. Wright is a community development professional at the People’s Emergency Center in West Philadelphia.
- Making Baltimore Ave. a place for people — Friday May 1st, 5:30pm.
The University City District has several pedestrian-friendly projects in the works in West Philly and you can learn all about them on this walk hosted by UCD Planner and Project Manager Daniel Wolf. Bonus? Pizza and beer from Dock Street Brewery await at the end.
- Passyunk Pedestrians — Saturday May 2nd, 2:00pm
Walkability issues and the neighborhood landscape will take center stage on this East Passyunk Avenue walk. The tour will be hosted by David Goldfarb (of the East Passyunk Crossing Civic Association and the Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporation) and former city community planner and SEPTA’s current long-range planner Jennifer Barr.
- Banks and Bourbon — Saturday May 2nd, 3:00pm.
Jenna Solomon leads this walk into Philadelphia’s historic bank buildings and examines the transformation that led to their current life as adaptively re-used spaces. Among the sites included on the walk are National Mechanics, the PSFS tower, and the Ritz.
- From Behind Bars to Corner Bars: Fairmount, an (A)Typical Row House Neighborhood — Sunday May 3rd, 3:30pm
From a farmland community with a forbidding prison looming in its midst to a Philadelphia suburb with corner stores that are still–if you know where to look–visible today, Fairmount has come a long way. Join preservation historian Lynn Alpert on a tour that delves into the the story behind the neighborhood’s landscape and ponders its role in the movement to make it into a walkable, mixed-use place.
Hope to see you there!