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Kelowna News

Community walk in support of better urban planning

For Brigitte Le Normand, ‘60s community organizer Jane Jacobs is an inspiration.

“She was all about having people take a look around their neighbourhoods to see what was working and what was not working,” says Le Normand, who teaches urban history UBC’s Okanagan campus.

Jacobs, an American-Canadian writer and activist, exemplified “people power” in an age where decisions about urban planning were made by politicians and corporate interests, with little consultation with citizens about their goals and interest. She began in her home of Greenwich Village, New York, and saved several vibrant neighbourhoods from demolition through ill-considered development. After moving to Toronto in 1968, she was an active opponent of traffic expressways planned and under construction.

So Le Normand is organizing Kelowna’s first Jane Jacobs Walk on Sunday, May 12, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Mission Creek Parkway, starting at the pedestrian bridge near the Eeco Centre. The eight-kilometre walk is pedestrian, stroller and wheelchair friendly. There is also a shorter version of the walk. No registration is required.

“What I want people to do is reflect on the importance of recreational amenities and what they value in their neighbourhoods,” says Le Normand. “People are already engaged in their neighborhoods through activities like community gardens, dog walking groups and other clubs. I want to encourage them to get involved in the urban planning decision-making process as well.”

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