Charlotte participates in Jane’s Walks with six neighborhood events this weekend

As part of a global movement that encourages residents to explore their cities and get to know their neighbors, six walking tours of different Charlotte communities will be hosted this weekend.

The free walks are open to the public and are being held as part of the annual global festival promoted by Jane’s Walk, the international organization that’s been described as an “extravaganza of pedestrian urban love.”

Named for Jane Jacobs, the noted urbanist and neighborhood activist who wrote “The Death and Life of Great American Cities,” the program promotes walking events year-round, including this weekend’s annual festival, held in Charlotte and around the world.

The six walks in Charlotte are sponsored by PlanCharlotte.org – an online publication from UNC Charlotte’s Urban Institute – and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Mary Newsom, associate director of Urban and Regional Affairs at UNCC, said this is the third year the walks have been held locally. Interest and participation has grown every year, she said, adding that each walk has a different focus.

A Saturday morning walk in Hidden Valley will double as an effort to clean up a mile of nature trail, Newsom said, while another will explore the park district of west Charlotte, led by professional planner John Howard.

Sunday’s walk, “Designs on South End,” will focus on urban design and be led by David Walters, a UNCC professor with experience as an architect, community planner and urban designer.

This year, two of the walks required registration and filled quickly, Newsom said. The “Know NoDa” tour Friday night and Saturday’s “Munching Tour of Central Avenue” – both led by Tom Hanchett, historian at Levine Museum of the New South – had waiting lists of potential participants.

“Which, to me, means there’s growing interest,” Newsom said, noting that residents can get details on next year’s events by signing up for PlanCharlotte.org’s weekly newsletter.