Arts & Culture Business Development Community Commentary Spotlight Fara Illich April 29, 2010

Friend and fellow blogger Yuri Artibise is organizing his second Jane’s Walk this weekend in Downtown Phoenix. The nationwide (free) event, named after urbanist Jane Jacobs, is meant to draw attention to walkable neighborhoods within your city. This year, Artibise is focusing on the warehouse district in our urban core. According to the Jane’s Walk Phoenix website, Artibise points out that our warehouse district has been neglected. Buildings have either been razed or boarded up. In most cities, warehouse districts are epicenters of the arts and culture scene, in addition to being a great place for young entrepreneurs to see their business grow. That’s not the case here in Phoenix, and Artibise quotes Jane Jacobs as to why our city people should change their mindset when it comes to adaptive reuse of buildings in this part of town.

Cities need old buildings so badly it is probably impossible for vigorous streets and districts to grow without them…. for really new ideas of any kind—no matter how ultimately profitable or otherwise successful some of them might prove to be—there is no leeway for such chancy trial, error and experimentation in the high-overhead economy of new construction. Old ideas can sometimes use new buildings. New ideas must use old buildings. – Jane Jacobs, “The Death and Life of American Cities”

You can learn more about the Downtown Phoenix warehouse district by joining Yuri and dozens of others this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The walk will start at AmenZone, located at 106 E. Buchanan, which is just a couple of blocks south of the 3rd Street and Jefferson light rail station. Information on the event can be found here and instructions on how to ride the light rail can be found on my website here.