Walk Leader: Annie Bolitho
Text by: Annie Bolitho
Photographs by: Annie Bolitho
Jane’s Walk Melbourne began a partnership with Open House Melbourne (www.openhousemelbourne.org) in 2017 that has generated huge interest in Jane’s Walk. This was one of the first walks on Open House weekend and it was booked out in half an hour. One thing I’ll never forget was that all the walkers were waiting at the meeting place ten minutes ahead of the starting time. They were keen!
In 2017 the Open House theme was ‘What would Jane do?’ following the success of the movie ‘Citizen Jane, Battle for the City’ which Open House had put on in Melbourne. A number of the walkers had seen it and were very inspired by her.
Swanston Street goes through Melbourne north to south, and I’d chosen a random selection of places that demonstrated either the indirect influence of Jane Jacobs’ on our city, or reason to ask what she would do.
Swanston Street highlights elements of an urban ecology. It’s sidewalks have been increased in size substantially since the 1970s and the position of cars has waned to nothing but delivery trucks.
We began at ‘Aurora Melbourne Central’ a building set for 84 storeys above ground, then having reached 12 and ended at Federation Square having stopped to talk all along the way.
The walk revealed that each walker brought a story, for example of being a worker in the city, a migrant to the city, an architect of the city, or simply a city lover.
Because we’d enjoyed ourselves and weren’t ready to say goodbye, we stopped in at Flora for dosa and masala chai after the walk.