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“Jane’s Walks” in Utah Awaken Senses

May 4, 2011 — Free neighborhood tours will be held May 7 and 8 in communities across the Wasatch front to celebrate and explore the livability and vibrancy of cities by those who actually live in them.

Jane’s Walks, so named in honor of city-lover Jane Jacobs, are scheduled for four different areas in Salt Lake and Midway, Utah. The walks are an annual project of students in the College of Architecture + Planning at the University of Utah. Forty-eight events in 18 U.S. cities are taking place this year. The current list of all walks scheduled is available at

“Jane’s Walks are organized in the spirit of Jacobs, who believed that people are at the heart of their cities,” says Stephen Goldsmith, associate professor of city and metropolitan planning at the University of Utah. “When you walk your neighborhood, you learn to appreciate it-and your part in it-more profoundly. The walks are organized to encourage people to explore where they live and take action to influence these places for the better.”

Highlighted Walks in Utah:

What We Hear – Salt Lake City

Participants will explore the city through sense of hearing. The walk will be co-hosted by blind citizens of Salt Lake City. Participants will have the opportunity to be blind-folded and led along a designated route by sighted guides. Stops are incorporated along the route at designated places to discuss traversing the urban environment without the use of sight, relying on hearing instead.

Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Date: Sunday, May 8

Host: Nate Currey – National Director Jane’s Walk USA

Host Organization: Jane’s Walk USA

BTC No Car For Me – Salt Lake City

This walk begins at the Bicycle Transit Center in downtown Salt Lake City. Participants are encouraged to arrive by riding a bicycle, TRAX, bus or the Frontrunner. The ride will follow designated bike lanes throughout the city, and end at the Salt Lake City and County Building, where the Mayors’ Rivalry Ride from Provo, to Salt Lake City will be concluding. Discussions among participants will focus on the ease of navigating a major city without the use of a car, and raise awareness about bike commuting in the city. All riders are welcome at this casual ride.

Time: 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Date: Saturday, May 7

Host: Brian Manecke

Host Organization: Canyon Sports Bicycle Transit Center

Shaping Parley’s Trail in Sugar House – Salt Lake City

This walk will traverse the route of the proposed Parley’s Trail through the Sugar House Business District and through the future streetcar corridor to 700 East. Along the way, there will be opportunities to provide input on the features and design of a trail that can benefit the community. There will be four stations with surveys asking respondents to identify what they would like this pedestrian trail to look like. A collection of different images will be provided to stimulate ideas and contrasts, and there will be an open discussion about the possibilities. It also provides residents an opportunity to connect and talk about the past, present and future of the area.

Time: 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Date: Saturday, May 7

Host: Nate Williams

Host Organization: Parley’s Trails Rails and Tunnels Coalition

A Kid’s Eye View of Midway – Heber Valley, Utah

This walk will be led by 4th – 8th grade students from Soldier Hollow Charter School. The students will guide a walking tour of places they chose around Midway and describe their significance. They will engage participants about how these places might be preserved or improved in light of community values, priorities and identity. The results of this conversation, which began in March as part of a Jane’s Walk USA place-based education program, will be presented to city officials and policy makers as they consider this region’s future.

Time: 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Date: Saturday, May 7

Host: Paige Pitcher & Zachary Gill

Host Organization: Jane’s Walk USA School Edition

About Jane Jacobs:

Jacobs was a specialist in the study of cities. A firm believer in the importance of local residents having input on how their neighborhoods develop, Jacobs encouraged people to familiarize themselves with the places where they live, work and play. Her 1961 treatise, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities,” introduced ground-breaking ideas about how cities function, evolve, and fail, and now seem like common sense to generations of architects, planners, politicians and activists. Jacobs helped derail the car-centered approach to urban planning in both New York and Toronto, invigorating neighborhood activism by helping stop the expansion of expressways and roads. She lived in Greenwich Village, N.Y. for decades, then moved to Toronto in 1968 where she continued her work and writing on urbanism, economies and social issues until her death in April, 2006.

About the U’s College of Architecture + Planning:

The College of Architecture + Planning (CA+P) at the University of Utah facilitates an educational community of students, faculty and staff with interests and expertise in creative design, building, planning, computer technology, issues of social and ecological responsibility and the scholarly study of the history and theory of the built landscape. CA+P educates future professionals who are concerned with constructing and maintaining the highest quality in our built and natural environments.