Jane’s Walk tours highlight Philadelphia neighborhoods

This weekend marks the eighth annual international “Jane’s Walk.” Philadelphia will host seven neighborhood tours in honor of the late New York City urbanist Jane Jacobs, including the Delaware Waterfront, Rittenhouse Square, and Society Hill.

Diana Lu’s Sunday walk will explore the Chinatown and Callowhill neighborhoods.

“It’s easy to pass by Chinatown or to go for just that one take-out place or to have to be stuck in traffic there while you’re trying to get on 95 or the Vine Street expressway,” Lu said. “But to really walk at the pace of pedestrian and take it all in — I want people to spend the time and really see everything that’s in only a few small blocks.”

Trained as a planner, Lu admires Jane Jacobs, a walkability advocate best known for her book “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” as well as fighting expressways planned to cut through New York City neighborhoods in the 1960s.

Ashley Hahn calls Jacobs the “mother urbanist.”  Hahn, a writer for online planning publication, Plan Philly, also organized the tour schedule.

“We think these walks are a cool opportunity to showcase some of the positive work being done to make Philadelphia neighborhoods better and understand why our city works well in terms of urban design — what works and what doesn’t,” she said.

Hahn said a group of Philadelphians held Jane’s Walk events several years ago, but it didn’t take hold in the city. She hopes this year’s will kick off a growing, annual series.

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