Local Groups Host Jane Jacobs Walks

In honor of Jane Jacobs and in recognition of her May birthday the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia and Jane’s Walk Philadelphia will join groups nationwide in hosting walking tours on Saturday, May 5.

The Jane’s Walk Philadelphia Rowhouse to Riverfront tour will begin at the Grindcore House coffee shop at the corner of South 4th and Cross streets and lead participants along Dickinson Narrows, Pennsport, Queen Village and the Delaware waterfront. The tour, which begins at 10 a.m. will explore the neighborhoods’ history, current dynamics and future potential.

The Preservation Alliance will lead a free architectural walking tour “Around Washington Square.” The tour will begin at 2 p.m. at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the center of Washington Square near 7th and Walnut streets and explore the historic Washington Square Park, one of William Penn’s original planned parks.

During the Revolutionary War the square served as burial ground for more than 1,200 soldiers. It later became home to The Athenaeum, the first Italian Renaissance building in the country, and was the center of the early 20th century publishing industry. Today the park is experiencing yet another transition as former office buildings are being converted into residences.

Both tours are part of larger national and international Jane Jacobs walking tours held annually in honor of Jacobs’ May birthday. Jacobs is the famed urbanist and activist who authored The Death and Life of Great American Cities in 1961 and is regarded for the impact her unique, community-based approaches continue to have on urban development.

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