Drifting through neighbourhoods chatting in the sun – is exactly what Jane Jacobs had in mind as she developed her ideas about vibrant neighbourhoods. Sunday May 5th thirteen Banffites wandered from Banff Ave. Park to the Bow River (at the entrance to the new pedestrian bridge) via Muskrat street. We had a one month old a toddler and a number of long-term Banff residents along and shared many stories about specific houses, intersections, streetscapes etc.
Randall McKay is the Town Planner and has studied Jane’s ideas and he shared some connections between Banff’s development and Jane’s liveable community concepts. Muskrat street has become more densely populated and this creates more connection and interesting interactions – one of Jane’s tenants for liveable communities. One of our walkers suggested that while this is great most of the time, it can be a problem at 2 or 3 am when they intersect in front of your house while you try to sleep.
Jonathon Karp describes Jane Jacob’s work – “What Jacobs has done , slowly and methodically, is build a practical philosophy of understanding the way urban commerce produces economic growth. She relies on direct observation, common sense, Socratic questioning and a dizzying variety of sources. Central to her urban vision is the notion of drift, the idea that neighbourhoods, economies, – life itself – cannot be planned.”
Mark Feeny describes her as – “No theorist or visionary, Jacobs is an urban Thoreauvian: an observer, walker, cyclist (her preferred modes of urban transportation) who mainly just pokes around and notices things.”
On this Jane’s walk we had 3 year old Jasper digging around in the dirt, jumping off rocks, playing with his mom and finding interesting items in the grass – doing exactly what Jane suggested life should be about – exploration, enjoyment, and connection.