Text by: Natxa Pomar and Maria Gómez Llabrés
Photographs by: Natxa Pomar and Maria Gómez Llabrés
Palma’s first Jane’s Walk was a success!
This year has been a beautiful crazy adventure to start the Jane’s Walk movement in Palma despite of the threat of grey clouds and rain. In only one month the community organizers Natxa Pomar and Maria Gómez Llabrés managed to curate an incredible program of 14 walks with all kinds of themes and variety. More than 500 people participated throughout the weekend to debate and discuss the city.
Palma is the capital city of the Mediterranean island of Majorca, founded in 123 B.C. by the Romans, and has almost half a million inhabitants. For centuries, the city and its port have been a strategic point in the Mediterranean sea, and has had a strong relationship and trade with Catalonia, southern France and northern Africa. Since the 1960s, with the rise of mass tourism, Palma has been a popular holiday destination worldwide. But very few people know its layers, nooks, and routes.
Jane Jacobs is unknown here but her ideas, concerns, and observations are so relevant that Jane’s Walk spirit has been embraced by citizens unexpectedly well in a city where poor walkability, gentrification, and tourist invasion are the worries of its inhabitants. Our festival includes all type of walks, from the most traditional ones to more experimental walks about balance in the city, big debates about nighttime noise and eviction, and the opportunity to discover “forgotten” communities working to make better neighbourhoods.
The most popular walk was the one called “What are all those German people doing in Palma?” Mallorca is a favourite place for German tourists, which has led to a big community of German people living and working here to provide services to the ones who come visit, but it has never been a welcomed community among the native islanders. While doing our media outreach, a couple of German reporters came up with a brilliant idea: they wanted to show Mallorcan people who are these Germans and what German people do in the city! It was a great success. More than 50 people showed up, both Mallorcan and German, and the debate started right away from the first stop! We learned about different businesses in the city runned by German people who love our culture and city and decided to stay. All very intelligent people from different industries, from tourism, art or construction with lots to offer to the city and very happy to share with us their stories. We even learned German jokes about Mallorcan people!
We are really looking forward to the next edition! Not only do most of the walk leaders want to participate again but we’ve been approached by a lot of people with lots of ideas to make this movement bigger every year.