Tours examine Jane Jacobs’ influence

Urbanism writer and activist Jane Jacobs' work will be celebrated across Liverpool city centre in May as part of a programme of thought-provoking walks in cities around the world.

Jane Jacobs (1916-2006) was an American – Canadian writer who revolutionised the way people think about cities and their development. Every year 500 cities across the world host Jane's Walks; urban tours to discuss her legacy and for the first time, Liverpool is taking part.

Jane Jacobs was a fierce critic of the damaging urban renewal policies of the 1950s, which were universally supported in their time. These included high-rise housing projects which she felt created environments that isolated tenants and became centres of crime, poverty and despair.

The walks, organised by Royal Town Planning Institute's North West Young Planners will be held on the 2, 4 and 9 May, to coincide with the anniversary of Jane Jacobs' birth and will centre around the Hope Street, Baltic Triangle and Stanley Street Quarter areas.

Jane's Walks provides a chance for Liverpool's urban planners to explain how Jane's work has influenced, and will continue to influence, Liverpool's development.

The event is being supported by economic development company, Liverpool Vision and Matt Biagetti, area investment manager for the city centre will be leading one of the tours.

He said: "Jane Jacobs was a radical thinker who championed a new, community-based approach to city planning. Her seminal 1961 book The Death and Life of Great American Cities is perhaps the most influential book on urban planning and cities ever. She understood that cities should be looked at as living beings and ecosystems that are linked to one another.

"Her thinking has had a positive impact on cities all over the world, including Liverpool. All of Liverpool's major development frameworks, including the City Centre Strategic Investment Framework, contain thinking pioneered by Jane, particularly around inclusivity and mixed development to create vibrant, exciting neighbourhoods.

"That is why Baltic Triangle, Hope Street and Stanley Street Quarters have been selected for Liverpool's inaugural Jane's Walks. They are exciting and distinctive with an active, engaged community which Jane would have been sure to commend."

The other two walks will be led by community campaigner Gerry Proctor, chairman of Engage Liverpool and Andi Herring, project officer for Stanley Street Quarter. Councillors Steve Munby and Nick Small are also attending the walks to help lead the discussions.

Cllr Small said: "This is a worldwide movement which will enable people to discover new stories about their city. Jane Jacobs' ideas still inspire and these walks will provide an excellent opportunity to contribute to the debate about our city's way forward and hear of our ambition to build on the remarkable transformation of recent years."

Kim Cooper, vice-chairman of RTPI North West Young Planners and Jane's Walk coordinator for the city has been instrumental in organising Liverpool's first Jane's Walks.

She said: "Liverpool has always been a city of radical thinking and embraces pioneers like Jane Jacobs who challenge convention and are prepared to say; 'there is a better way'.

"An initiative like Jane's Walks on the one hand is about heritage and discovery and on the other about generating new ideas for the future and is something in which I'm sure she would have encouraged."

The tours are free to attend and open to all. To register to attend email Kim Cooper at

Tour dates:

  • Thursday 2 May at 6.00pm, Hope Street, Liverpool
  • Saturday 4 May at 11.45am, Baltic Triangle, Liverpool
  • Thursday 9 May at 6.30pm, Stanley Street Quarter

Your Comments

Hello all, There is also a tour taking place in Manchester on Wednesday. Info here: Kim

By Kim Cooper

Subscribe to our newsletter