Jane’s Walk seminar: “A City From a Walking Perspective, Examples of Good Practice”
Jane’s Walk seminar: “A City From a Walking Perspective, Examples of Good Practice” has been organized by Trešnjevka Cultural Centre and “Zeleni klik” Association, held in Zagreb, May 18th – 20th, 2018.
About the seminar:
Jane’s Walk is a global project that started in Toronto (Canada) in 2006 with the goal of bringing urbanist Jane Jacobs’ (1916 -2006) ideas to life. She promoted the idea of city walks where people get together with the purpose of collective research, conversation enjoying the intricacies of their cities, along with active collective participation in the life and sustainable development of their cities. The project has been active and growing since 2006 and it currently encompasses 189 cities in 36 countries on six continents.
Zagreb joined that network of cities in 2015 through the activities of the „Trešnjevka Mapping“ project by Trešnjevka Cultural Centre, a local organizer and coordinator for that project for the city of Zagreb (Trešnjevka is one of the Zagreb’s districts). Recognizing the value of this approach to city life and the active role of citizens in designing better development based on the idea of a self-sustainable city, the „Zeleni klik!“ (Green click!) association has taken the task of organizing a seminar that allows people to exchange their experiences and examples of good practice from Zagreb and neighboring cities. The goal is to promote cooperation with colleagues dealing with the same topics in Zagreb, as well as other European cities.
Through this seminar, organizers and walk leaders from Ljubljana (Slovenia), Vienna (Austria) and Zagreb (Croatia) presented their experiences from the previous years and, together with other participants were discussing different topics related to Jane’s Walk activities and other similar projects that are promoting walking and cycling in cities, citizens’ participation in creation of urban life and social activities helping people to get to know each other. These types of walks help citizens and tourists identify with the local society, encourage building connections of tourists with the local population, as well as local population among themselves.
Furthermore, they encourage critical thinking and an active approach to everyday city life and the life itself through identification of needs and problems, making up of solutions for them and participating in solving them, be it direct, through contacts with local self-government, or be it indirect, through local associations and interest groups. Therefore, this seminar was intended for representatives of local self-government, organizers of related initiatives, representatives of civil associations and citizens in general. Also, because it encourages active and healthy lifestyle, it is also intended for all those institutions and associations advocating it.
The following speakers shared their experiences with the audience during the seminar:
- Maja Simoneti, Ljubljana: a landscape architect, works at „Institut for spatial policies“, among others as coordinator of the Jane’s Walk in Ljubljana.
- Andreas Lindinger, Vienna: an independent urban management consultant and the Local Jane’s Walk organizer and walk leader in Vienna
- Florian Lorenz, Vienna: an independent consultant in area of urban mobility, leader of the „Smarter than Car“ project and one of the walk leaders in Vienna.
- Vanja Radovanović, Zagreb: a telecom engineer, a co-author and co-leader of the „Trešnjevka Mapping“ project, one of the coordinators and walk leaders of the Jane’s Walk in Zagreb.
The presentations shown during the seminar can be downloaded here.
prof. Joshua Grigsby, University of Vienna, urban geography lecturer with the group of his students of “4cities” urban education program. The student group was of a very international origin, from a dozen of countries from Africa, Asia, America and Europe.
All citizens interested in the topics above. The participation was free. More than 600 invitations were sent to local authorities, cultural institutes, similar organizations and all followers of Jane’s Walk and other activities of Trešnjevka Mapping project.
The seminar program was followed by 23 persons from 12 countries.
Here’s the list of some of the topics mentioned and discussed during the seminar:
- Jane’s Walk walks: how many are organized annually, how the information is spread to the citizens, media’s interest for the walks (and how to get it), who leads the walks (organizers, invited leaders and/or volunteered citizens), interactions with walkers during the walks, the duration of the walks, profiles of the people coming to the walks (age, sex, education…), challenges for the leaders …
- Other activities connected to the walks: lectures, web content, cooperation with schools, universities, kindergartens,
- Cooperation with the local authorities: Support, participation, cooperation, joint projects…
- Possibilities of cooperation with other public life figures in the city: the media, museums, tourist organizations, professional associations
- Art: Ways how art, conventional and unconventional, could be included in the project
- Possibilities of cooperation between cities: Walks dealing with same topics, collecting memories and/or experiences of the walkers related to certain themas
- Financing: How to attract broader audience and sponsors
- Other initiatives with similar goals as Jane’s Walk:
- Pedibus and Cyclotrain, projects of Institute for Spatial Policies launched in several cities and towns in Slovenia with aim to promote walking and cycling to school for young schoolars
- Smarter than car, a think tank dedicated to the questions of bicycle urbanism and future urban mobility. As an interdisciplinary group with open-source attitude, they are engaged in urban research and advocacy of important role of bicycle in sustainable urban development in a future post-carbon world
- Trešnjevka Mapping – a sociocultural project with activities based in Zagreb’s district of Trešnjevka, among others covering Jane’s Walk activities for the entire Zagreb
During the seminar two walks for lecturers and participants were held. Saša Šimpraga, an activist and regular walk leader from Zagreb, guided the tour named “Zagreb’s city centre in an (un)usual way” and Vanja Radovanović guided the tour over Trešnjevka district named “Trešnjevka and its numerous faces”.
- Jane’s Walk – global page
- Institute for Spatial Policies, Ljubljana, Slovenia
- Jane’s Walk in Vienna, Austria
- Smarter than Car
- Trešnjevka Mapping
- Cultural centre Trešnjevka (in Croatian only)
- 4 cities, urban studies
From the organizational point of view, the seminar was financed by the hosts from Zagreb themselves with additional help of Austrian Cultural Forum and media support from “Look this” (“Pogledaj to”) web portal and “H-Alter”, an alternative web magazine.
Technically, the seminar was organized by “Trešnjevka Mapping” crew and its supporters. Special thanks to “Vox Feminae” NGO that gave the seminar room.