About

Backgrounder

What is Jane100?

Jane100 is a year-long celebration of the life and legacy of Jane Jacobs, the inspiring urban theorist, author and citizen activist who made Toronto her home for nearly 40 years. It is an invitation and an opportunity for community groups, organizations and individuals to activate the spaces and places around them, with the goal of seeing our neighbourhoods and city from new or overlooked perspectives.

Can I organize an event for Jane100?

Absolutely! Everyone is welcome to participate – organizations and individuals alike.

What kind of events will there be?

All kinds! We’re hoping that events will be as diverse as neighbourhood porch crawls, art projects, block parties, potluck picnics, community design, reading clubs devoted to the ideas in Jane’s books, explorative walks in your favorite neighbourhood and more! Everyone is welcome to host their own Jane100 event and share it through jane100.com. For a growing list of both community and signature events, please check our calendar on the website.

What do I need to do/display at the event?

Once your event has been reviewed and confirmed, we’ll send you an electronic Jane100 Welcome Kit with background materials for display, a copy of the logo to be included on materials that you produce (banners, postcards, etc…), and simple instructions about gathering video and photos from your event. We also ask that you encourage event volunteers and participants to use #Jane100 when sharing information about your event on social media platforms.

One of our legacy goals for Jane100 is to produce a video montage of events that took place across the city as part of 100 days of Jane and to share it via a retrospective closing ceremony event in the summer of 2017.

Who is organizing Jane100?

The initial idea for Jane100 came to be through informal conversations between ERA Architects, Heritage Toronto, Jane’s Walk, and Spacing Magazine who thought that there should be a special way to honour Jane’s legacy on the occasion of what would have been her 100th birthday. Jane passed away in 2006 so this also marks 10 years since her passing.

In the spirit of Jane, who believed in self-organization, the steering committee are asking our community of fellow city-builders (that’s you!) to champion events for this celebration and share them through your networks.

The Steering Committee is composed of; Ange Valentini, Ceta Ramkhalawansingh, DTAH, ERA Architects, Heritage Toronto, Jane’s Walk, Ryerson City Building Institute, Senayah Design, Shape My City, Spacing Magazine, Studio Jaywall, Sustainable.TO, The Reading Line and Yvonne Bambrick







How else can I be involved?

Want to participate without necessarily organizing your own event?

Have a room or space to donate?

Want to speak on a panel or at a book club?

Want to become a volunteer?

Join the Jane100 initiative by sending an email to hello@jane100.com with details about how you’d like to take part.

Can I charge an entry fee or sell anything at the event?

You may structure your potential event however you like, including by choosing to collect (or forego) an entry fee or cover charge to support the cost of running your event. However, Jane would sometimes ask: who is not in the room? If a fee to participate might be a barrier to someone who should attend, consider including a Pay What You Can option.

Who was Jane Jacobs?

Jane Jacobs was a seminal urban theorist and author, who wrote about how communities thrive when they have control of their own futures. She was an advocate of grassroots community organizing, knowing that everyone is an expert on where they live, and in her own words: “Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”

Born in 1916 in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Jane moved to New York City with her sister Betty in 1935. She took a liking and eventually moved to Greenwich Village, Manhattan’s legendary bohemian neighbourhood. In the 50s and 60s, she was a tireless advocate for her community (and communities like hers) across New York City, in particular against giant “urban renewal” and expressway plans that would have destroyed neighbourhoods.

In 1968, she and her family moved to Toronto. She soon became a leading voice in the struggle to stop the Spadina Expressway project, which was ultimately cancelled in 1971. She also played a significant role in shaping the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood.

Over the course of her career as an author, Jane wrote seven full-length books on urban theory, economics and society. Although most well-known for her book The Death and Life of Great American Cities, published in 1961, in her later years Jane wrote extensively about societal values, economics, morals and our responsibilities to each other.