Rain or shine, an amazing walk is happening in Liberty Village on Sunday, May 7th at 2pm. It’s free, and are led by engaged, local citizens. Stories, histories, and anecdotes are shared while meeting and greeting neighbours. Residents Michelle Rowland, Bria Aird and Arleigh Hack will be hosting this walk. It is suitable for everyone of all ages and is considered easily accessible.
A woman by the name of Jane Jacobs created this vision. As noted on the official website, Jane, “was an urbanist and activist whose writings championed a fresh, community based approach to city building”. Jane’s walks are not meant to be walking lectures, rather walking conversations. The belief is that these walks do not need to be led by professionals, but by local citizens. People who live in their areas are experts on their neighbourhoods in their own right. Learn more about Jane’s Walks here.
Loose Space and Urban Nature
We got a chance to catch up with one of the organizers, Michelle. She and her co-hosts, are students at Ryerson University’s Masters of Urban Planning. This walk is being done as part of a course on ecological design. Instruction from the professor was to simply, “do something”.
The theme of “Loose Space and Urban Nature – Re-Thinking Underestimated Urban Spaces” seemed like a unique approach to a Jane’s Walk. It allows Michelle and her classmates to step outside the academic box and educate the community. Having attended previous walks in Ottawa and seeing the incredible value they have, this seemed like a great opportunity to host one. In addition, Michelle can get to know her community in a new and fresh way.
“In planning, we ask ‘what is the highest and best use of space’ but I am interested to find the highest yet best ecological use of space.” – Michelle Rowland
Where Will the Walk Explore?
Some Liberty Village spaces will be discovered and reimagined. The South Liberty Trail, which runs parallel to the rail tracks will be discussed. What kind of possibilities could be had with this trail, seeing beyond its current state? Funny thing, not everyone is even aware of this hidden trail in our neighbourhood.
The GreenP Parking Lot cornered by Hanna St and Atlantic Ave will also be up for discussion. Contrary to its name, is it really a “green” initiative? What would this space look like transformed into a park? After visiting these two Liberty Village spaces, the walk will then move westward into Parkdale with more ideas and exploration on balcony agriculture, loose corridor and ecorevelatory design. Stops at The Milky Way Community Garden and Hope Garden are also scheduled into the walk.
Typically Jane’s Walks are held on the first weekend of May, however they can be hosted anytime of the year. Interested in hosting and organizing a Jane’s Walk? Visit them online, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.