Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Walk This Way

Posted By on Wed, Apr 28, 2010 at 3:36 PM

Award-winning urban studies journalist and author Roberta Gratz presides over the second annual Jane Jacobs lecture, "The Battle for New Orleans" 5:30 p.m. tomorrow, Thursday, April 29 at the Louisiana Humanities Center (938 Lafayette St.). The lecture precedes the weekend's annual Jane's Walks, informal neighborhood tours throughout New Orleans.

Gratz discusses the ideas of Robert Moses and Jacobs, two polarizing figures whose ideas of city development are still considered throughout world cities. Moses argued for top-down infrastructure and publicly financed projects — a pioneer of federally funded highways, and whose ideas rubbed New Orleans planners to develop freeway access in the city (Uptown and in the French Quarter), but ultimately constructing the overpass now dividing Treme. Jacobs, an pioneered self-organized, human-scale projects in organic environments that focused on building neighborhoods by the people who thrive in them.

Post-Katrina development in New Orleans looks to these two giants for an idea: Does the city build big, or go neighborhood-driven small?

On Saturday morning, the New Orleans 2010 Jane's Walks begin. The tours are led by people who live, work or play in them. Personal stories or histories are shared and are meant to open a dialogue with the participants, their environment and peers. The walks began in Toronto in 2007 and have expanded across the United States and Canada. The New Orleans walks include Algiers, Bayou Road, Broadmoor, Canal Street, Freret Street, the Irish Channel, the Lakefront, the Lower 9th Ward and Oak Street.

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