Jane’s Walks, or how to celebrate the birthday of one of the most famous urban planners of the twentieth century. Jane’s Walks were inaugurated on May 5, 2007, in Toronto, by the Center for the Living City. The Center for the Living City is a nonprofit organization created by Jane Jacobs’ friends to “celebrate her life and legacy by  helping people organize walks in their communities around the time of Jane’s birthday in early May.”

Every year since, free neighborhood tours have been held to honor the legacy of the urban activist who argued for “mixed use neighborhoods” and “eyes on the street.” From its first year in Toronto with 27 tours, Jane’s Walks expanded to New York City with the help of Jane Farrow, a CBC broadcaster. Today, Jane’s Walk has expanded to over 75 cities in 15 countries in with over 500 neighborhood tours available.

This year Jane’s Walks will occur in New York City on May 5th and 6th, in partnership with the Municipal Art Society. There will be over 70 free guided walks and bike rides, including locations featured on Partners in Preservation, a partner of Untapped Cities.

While all of the tours should exhibit a side of the City often over looked, here are some of our picks for the best of the 2012 Jane’s Walks. Some of the tours require you to RSVP so be sure to read carefully.

Brownstone Brooklyn

Manhattan West Public Space Icons

Minding the GAP: Reclaiming Brooklyn’s Premier Public Space






IRUBNY Celebrates Gramercy Park in a Creative New Way






East Harlem: Gentrification and the Historic Niew Haarlem


New Dorp, Staten Island:  Possibilities for Walkability and Transit in a Railway ‘New Village’






In Search of the Tenderloin and Tin Pan Alley






A New Way of Seeing and Understanding New York City






Jane Jacobs’ West Village






Atlantic Yards: Brooklyn’s Most Controversial Development






Revisit Rockaway Beach: Village Inside a Bustling Resort






History of the Lower East Side: Immigration, Religion & Culture






Damsels in Design Takeover Chelsea and Meatpacking District






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(All photos from the MAS website)

 Jane Jacobs, jane’s walks, Municipal Art Society, preservation, tours

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