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Jane's Walks coming in two weeks, including one on AY

The Center for the Living City, founded in the spirit of Jane Jacobs, on Saturday, September 29 and Sunday, September 30, will offer "Jane's Walks," a "series of free neighborhood strolls that emphasize the walkable and diverse nature of New York City."

The only Brooklyn one will concern Atlantic Yards, and I'll be leading it, with Center affiliate Ron Shiffman. (The walks will resume next spring; undoubtedly there are many Jacobsian walks to be found in the borough.)

The press release states:
As Jane Jacobs noted, people who live or work in the community know it best and can offer insights and observations that no professional can. Moreover, “Jane’s Walk” honors her belief that healthy cities feature walkable, compact, dense and diverse neighborhoods. These characteristics in turn help knit people together into a strong, connected and resourceful community.

The walks are part of the larger celebration of Jacobs’ work, including an exhibition, “Jane Jacobs and the Future of New York,” opening September 25 at the Municipal Art Society.

(Photo of Dean Street in the Atlantic Yards footprint by Adrian Kinloch.)

The Atlantic Yards Footprint and Environs

From the tour description:
Meeting Location: In front of Williamsburgh Savings Bank, tallest building in Brooklyn, Hanson Place at Ashland Place
Time: Saturday, Sept 29 2 PM
Tour Guides: Ron Shiffman and Norman Oder

Walk this area of Brooklyn with Ron Shiffman, planner and founder, Pratt Center for Community and Environmental Development (PICCED) and former New York City Planning Commissioner and Norman Oder, the journalist behind the Atlantic Yards Report and veteran New York City tour guide.The walk reveals the historic and political context behind the controversial Atlantic Yards plan—beginning at the edge of Downtown Brooklyn, where the borough’s tallest building is being converted to luxury condos, a dip into the embryonic Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) arts district, a peek at revitalized Fort Greene. The walk will then take in the fruits of urban redevelopment—1970s tower apartments, 1990s low-rise housing, and two malls—before traversing the footprint itself in Prospect Heights.

The walk, which will last at least two hours, provides an opportunity to discuss highly-charged elements of the Atlantic Yards design, including significant density, the creation of superblocks, the challenge of creating (and paying for) affordable housing, and the possibility of persistent interim surface parking. An update on legal challenges to the project will also be provided.

(Photo of the triangle between Flatbush, Fifth, and Atlantic Avenues, by Tracy Collins.)

Ron Shiffman founded PICCED and still teaches urban planning at the Pratt Institute. He is on the advisory board of Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, the coalition leading opposition to the Atlantic Yards project.

Norman Oder has written a comprehensive and often critical blog about the project for the past two years; his Atlantic Yards Report has broken numerous stories. A licensed New York City tour guide, he has operated New York Like A Native, which specializes in walking tours of Brooklyn, since 2000.

The dangers of over-success

One apt term I've learned from Jacobs is the notion of the "oversuccessful city." A free walking tour on a nice day might bring large crowds and pose a very interesting challenge.

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