What's Next For Jane Jacobs In The Woo?

It's been four months since Jane Jacobs' 100th birthday celebration on May 4th and the inauguration of this blog.  Jane Jacobs in the Woo has envisioned the sixteen weeks as an intensive online community-based urban studies seminar.  We have turned to a variety of disciplines -- history, sociology, urban design, planning -- to understand why Worcester has emerged as an auto-centric, sprawling suburbanized city. If you missed them, you can re-read and share the most important, enlightening, revolutionary posts.

Isn't this a great image?  Maybe the woman on the wall is saying, "Oy Vay! I'm going to cry if you don't get me out of this surface parking lot.  Don't fence me in.  Let's walk, bike or build a trolley up and down Main Street."  What do you think she is thinking?

Isn't this a great image?  Maybe the woman on the wall is saying, "Oy Vay! I'm going to cry if you don't get me out of this surface parking lot.  Don't fence me in.  Let's walk, bike or build a trolley up and down Main Street."  What do you think she is thinking?

So, what is next for Jane Jacobs in the Woo?

What is the road map for the rest of the year?

  • Less blogging: To date, we have averaged two to three posts per week during this busy "semester" of learning and exploration.  Now that our main arguments have been made, we will be releasing on average one weekly post each Sunday.  We will probably take some sort of winter break in mid-December.
  • More action: It's now time to shift from reflection to action.  Jane Jacobs in the Woo is currently organizing activists from a variety of interests (walk-bike, urban design, open space, locally controlled economic development, historic preservation) to form a short-term public policy think-tank.  This group will articulate a collective vision based on Jacobian ideals, investigate root barriers to realizing the vision and potentially research policy recommendations for the City of Worcester to consider adopting.  Please let us know if you are interested in participating.
  • Celebrate Jane Week, May 1 - 7, 2017: In honor of Jane Jacobs' 100th birthday this past May, New York City hosted over 200 Jane Walks spread throughout all of its boroughs.  Providence, Boston and many major cities in the United States and even the world also offered these free, citizen-led walking experiences.  Why not Worcester?  During Jane Week, we hope to organize at least 5 - 10 walks in Worcester, speakers and to-be-planned events.

So, what can you do? 

How can you bring Jane Jacobs to the Woo?

  • Spread the word: Read and re-read our posts past and future.  Share them with your friends.  Debate and discuss what will make our city vibrant. Argue over our controversial posts. Consider liking our facebook page, subscribing to this blog and getting your Worcester friends to do the same.  
  • Become a guest blogger: Snap a photo and make an observation for our readers.  If you know of someone who is doing something unique in the Woo or is making a difference in our city, think about interviewing him or her and putting a WooVoice together.  Research a more in-depth topic.  For example, one reader is planning to write a couple of posts on the millennial perspective.  What would it take to ensure our millennials want to put roots down in our city?  Another reader is working on a post describing how the adoption of a Complete Streets policy would be a key vehicle in making our city more walk-able and bike-able.  Contact janejacobsinthewoo@gmail.com if you are interested in becoming a guest blogger.
  • Plan and lead a Jane Walk for Jane Week, May 2017: Jane Walks are free, citizen led walks that focus on the history, design, or culture of our most beloved urban neighborhoods.  We hope to organize walks that focus on particular neighborhoods (Canal District, Main South, Webster Square, Salisbury Cultural District, Piedmont, Shrewsbury Street, Downtown) or particular themes (public art, blue zones, urban food, green space, etc).  Contact janejacobsinthewoo@gmail.com if interested.
  • Become active with our partners and friends:  We encourage you to join and participate in the work of groups that are working on areas that promote a Jane Jacobs city: WalkBike Worcester, Preservation Worcester, Canal District Business Alliance, Regional Environmental Council, Greater Worcester Land Trust.  Or consider bringing the voice of Jane Jacobs to the city by joining a city advisory committee.