The mission of "Jane Jacobs in the Woo":  Turning to the ideas of Jane Jacobs, Worcesterites will explore where we have been, where we are and where we want to go.

Beginning in May 2016, the month of Jane Jacobs’ 100th birthday, “Jane Jacobs in the Woo” will inaugurate a year of community conversations about building a vibrant Worcester.   This online public space will be a place where Worcesterites can gather for dialogue, learning and respectful debate. It is the hope that these vital conversations will not only happen online through this blog but also spill out into our neighborhoods in the cafes, bars, schools, worship houses, parks, streets and other public spaces where Worcesterites gather face-to-face.  This year experience will be part community-based urban studies seminar free from academic jargon, and part community building opportunity.  There are no prerequisites to join this “class”, just a deep interest in co-creating a thriving Worcester.

During this year, we will give voice to our vision of what we want Worcester to be and explore ways to get there.  Our tasks will include the following:

  • Dialogue on Worcester's past, present and future:  We will ask and attempt to answer questions: In what ways was our downtown and adjoining neighborhoods full of activity before the urban renewal changes in the 1950s and 1960s?  What  urban designs have worked or failed in our present time? And why? Why does downtown empty out at the end of the work day and rarely see major, consistent activity during the weekends? How will we capitalize on our strengths and support our budding creative locally grown entrepreneurs and artists who are breathing life into our city? What kind of city do we want to build for the next generation?
  • Worcester Voices:  This blog will center on the voices of those who live and work here.  Inspired by the project, Humans of New York, we will feature photos and quotes from Worcesterites - stories of how they came to be here and their dreams of what the city could be.  We hope to give space for a range of voices - young, old, East Siders and West siders, immigrants and Worcester Brahmins, movers and shakers and those who are usually closed out of the civic arena.