“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” – Jane Jacobs
It’s National Community Planning Month! Join the City of Tulsa Planning Department and Tulsa Foundation for Architecture as we discover downtown through the eyes of Jane Jacobs, an urban activist from the 1960s who took a critical look about how cities function, evolve, and fail in her book The Death and Life of Great American Cities.
Who is Jane Jacobs?
Jane Jacobs was an urbanist and activist whose writings critiqued city planning and presented a community-based approach to city building. She had no formal training as a planner, but her 1961 book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, introduced ground-breaking ideas about how cities function, evolve and fail. Many believe she was an amateur, but she brought fresh ideas still used by planners today.
Jacobs saw cities as integrated systems that had their own logic and dynamism which would change over time according to how they were used. She wrote about sidewalks, parks, retail design and self-organization. She promoted higher density in cities, short blocks, local economies and mixed uses. Jacobs helped derail the car-centered approach to urban planning in both New York and Toronto, invigorating neighborhood activism by helping stop the expansion of expressways and roads. She lived in Greenwich Village for decades, then moved to Toronto in the late 1960s where she continued her work and writing until her death in April 2006.
The first Jane Jacobs Walk was conducted in May 2007 in Toronto by friends and colleagues of Jane Jacobs. Since then the program has expanded with anniversary walks on her birthday discussing planning and public spaces in cities world-wide.
Where is the tour?
We will look at the buildings and public spaces that make downtown Tulsa and explore the impact history, preservation, transportation, and urban renewal has had. Starting at Topeca we will walk discussing the evolution of Tulsa’s streets, buildings, and public spaces as we walk to Guthrie Green. We will discuss what makes these places successful or not? What changes could be made to make spaces more engaging? We each have our own ideas of what places are vibrant, appealing places… we return often to these places!
After the tour, enjoy Eat Street Tulsa at the Blue Dome District!