Celebrating Jane Jacobs

I would like it to be understood, and increasingly understood as time passes, that all our human economic achievements have been done by ordinary people, not by exceptionally educated people, or by elites, or by supernatural forces, for heaven’s sake. Yet without understanding this, people are all too willing to fall for the idea that they can’t do this, they themselves, or anybody they know, because they’re too ordinary.

This week, in Toronto and around the world, individuals and organizations are celebrating the legacy of Jane Jacobs. The writer, activist, urban theorist, and under-acknowledged economist encouraged us to “get out and walk,” to experience the city around us. Jane’s Walk, which was started ten years ago as a way to carry Jane’s ideas forward, will be culminating in three days of city exploration this weekend.

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Jane Jacobs in her New York City backyard in the 1960s, before she and her family moved to Toronto. Credit: Jim Jacobs.

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