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Jane Jacobs Walk facilitates discussion about downtown development

BY HILLARY ROSENCRANTS | MAY 06, 2013 5:00 AM

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A group of like-minded individuals gathered near the fountain on the Pedestrian Mall on May 4 to raise awareness about urban planning in Iowa City.

The Jane Jacobs Walk, a nationally recognized event that strives to help citizens experience their city on foot, took place for the second year in Iowa City.

Jane Jacobs, a community organizer chiefly associated with the New York area, was an author and public figure who concerned herself with the matters of how cities work through dedicated observation.

Many of the walkers were concerned with future plans for downtown.

“It’s the fact that there’s some controversy over particular buildings having to do with efforts to renovate and energize the downtown area,” said Jim Throgmorton, an event coordinator, an Iowa City city councilor, and a university of Iowa professor emeritus of urban & regional planning.

Charles Connerly, the director of the University of Iowa Urban and Regional Planning School, also coordinated the event.

“The idea is to walk to streets of Iowa City and learn how to read and better understand the city,” he said.

Local business owner Veronica Tessler felt that participating in the walk would help her better understand the history of Iowa City.

“I was curious to get a better sense of the city through the eyes of Jane Jacobs,” she said.

Despite Saturday’s rainy weather, the tour of downtown developments went on, aided in part by Throgmorton’s and Connerly’s narration.

“A lot of issues are taking place with the city, and we want people to make up their own minds about what works with Iowa City and what doesn’t,” Connerly said.


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