Explore and Engage with the Return of Jane’s Walk to Milwaukee

May. 1, 2017
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On Wednesday, Turner Hall will host the kick-off events for Milwaukee’s second-ever Jane’s Walk.

This week, Jane’s Walk will return to Milwaukee for its second year of promoting community involvement via neighborhood walking tours. Six different parts of Milwaukee will be highlighted in this year’s tour series, which runs from Thursday, May 4 through Sunday, May 7. Jane’s Walk kicks off on Wednesday, May 3 with a buffet-style fish fry fundraising dinner at the Turner Hall restaurant. Afterward, a presentation by local Jane’s Walk organizers will highlight the organization’s mission and this year’s tours.

Jane’s Walk honors Jane Jacobs, a community engagement activist and author who lived in New York City and Toronto. Jacobs wrote the influential The Death and Life of Great American Cities, which eventually sold over a quarter-million copies and became a requisite text of the movement against urban renewal. The concept of Jane’s Walk fits in with her overall aim of encouraging citizens to be involved in the development of their cities. Local volunteers who share their expert knowledge and promote conversation and engagement among the walkers lead the walks. The first Jane’s Walk was held over a decade ago in Toronto and the concept has since spread to over 200 cities all across the world.

Milwaukee’s walks open with a tour of downtown led by architect Chris Socha, an advocate for “active and livable” urban development in the city. The walk will explore the past and future of downtown and the “pattern language” of the area’s architecture. This one-hour tour departs from the Plankinton Rotunda at 2 p.m. on May 4. On May 5, Michelle Kramer of the Menomonee Valley Partners will present a tour of West St. Paul Avenue’s past, present and future. The walk will explore the street’s many historic buildings and discuss how to better incorporate the area into the burgeoning Menomonee Valley. The tour departs from the Brass Light Gallery at 3 p.m.

On Saturday, May 6, tours will highlight three diverse aspects of the city. Departing from North Ninth St. and Vliet at 9:30 a.m., the 5 Miles of Art Justice Trail tour will visit numerous examples of historic and contemporary works of public art honoring social justice leaders. The 5-hour walk is sponsored by ZIP MKE and will be led by the organization’s founder, Dominic Inouye. At noon, a tour highlighting Milwaukee’s role in shaping American culture will depart from City Hall and visit key landmarks in the area on what tour leader Christian Matson-Alvirez calls a “Brew City Safari.” If you prefer biking to walking, you can join with journalist Michael Horne at noon at the Urban Harvest Brewing Company for a ride through Walker’s Point to learn about Milwaukee’s bicycle history. Horne will also lead the South 5th Street Renaissance tour, the final of the series, on Sunday, May 7. Departing from the Fifth Street Fuel Café at 11 a.m. the tour will go through one of the city’s most interesting historic neighborhoods and discuss about its recent revival.

To sign up for any of the walks or for more information, click here. The walks are all free of charge. The fish fry kick-off event is $20 per person, which includes the meal and soft drinks. The post-dinner lectures are open to the public, with a suggested donation of $5. For more information on the kick-off event, click here

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