You’re Your Community’s Expert. Invite People to Explore… 

Jane’s Walks Inspires Us to Showcase Our Community’s Beauty

janes walkImagine that a new family moves into your neighborhood. What parts of your community would you most like to share with them? How would you help them to learn about what makes your neighborhood unique? What hard-to-find things would you be sure to let them know about? Families can use their imaginations to answer these questions and more in order to develop tours of their very own communities.

Drawing inspiration from Jane’s Walks, an international community tour project, families can share the places and spaces that make their surroundings special with others – either to help open eyes to the wonders of a new place, or to bring folks together to bond through their shared love of and connections to a place.

Founded in 2006 in memory of Jane Jacobs, a community-minded champion of citizen-driven urban planning, Jane’s Walks promotes neighborhood and community cohesiveness, and pushes people to examine how they (and others) interact with their surroundings. Though Jane’s Walks was created with urban living in mind, families living in smaller towns and villages can easily replicate the theory behind the project in order to share with friends and neighbors.

Walks can be offered by anyone, and are carefully planned and designed to share specific information and experiences. Anyone interested in leading a walk can create their own tours simply by exploring their neighborhoods and taking note of interesting things to see and do (anything from a cafe with good bagels to a church with centuries old history to a place where the light hits the leaves of a particular tree just right in the summertime). Walks can be registered with Jane’s Walk in order to become part of the international database, and creators can even use promotional tools offered by the organization in order to get the word out about their event. However, not all Jane’s Walk-inspired tours have to be shared online – considering how your family interacts with your neighborhood can lead to some deep thinking regardless of whether your conclusions are shared with others.

Folks who are interested in learning experientially about the sort of tours that Jane’s Walk encourages can join BerkShares, Inc. for Walk the Talk a community tour and conversation about the past, present, and future of Great Barrington. Held on Saturday, May 2nd from 10am-12noon, Walk the Talk invites community members to join in to learn about the economic, historical, and cultural roots of the Great Barrington we know today. Additionally, participants are invited to share their thoughts on the community’s future, especially in the realm of sustainability and economic development.

Springtime is a perfect time of year to begin exploring your neighborhood with a specific lens – head outside with a notebook and pencil for mapping, and create your own tour! If you hold a community event to share your place, be sure to let us know about it!

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