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What Would Jane Do?

Home > Melbourne > Community Events | Public Lectures | Walks
by Fiona Anderson (subscribe)
A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Event: -
Celebrating the Achievements of Urban Activist Jane Jacobs
The 'Jane' in question here is not Jane Austen, but Jane Jacobs, leading American urbanist and city activist, journalist and author. The life and works of Jacobs are being celebrated in a month of activities taking place in July as part of Open House Melbourne 2017.

What Would Jane Do? Open House Melbourne 2017
The life and works of Jane Jacobs are celebrated in a month of activities scheduled for July. (Image credit: Jane Jacobs, Centre for the Living City, from the Open House Melbourne website.)

In an inspired collaboration, Open House has teamed up with the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas and Jane's Walk - a movement of free, citizen-led walking tours inspired by Jacobs - to deliver an educational, insightful program about Jacobs' works.

What would Jane Do? launches on Saturday 1st July with a limited season screening of Citizen Jane: Battle for the City at ACMI, Federation Square, Melbourne. Citizen Jane is a major new documentary covering Jacobs' notorious battle with New York City's 'master builder' Robert Moses over his plans to redevelop her neighbourhood of Greenwich Village, and his planned Lower Manhattan Expressway (LOMEX) project. Protests against the project, largely organised by Jacobs, led to her arrest in 1968, and ultimately, the cancellation of the project.

You can view the official trailer for Citizen Jane here:

Tickets are $18 full, $14 concession. Click here for more information, session times and to buy tickets online.

What Would Jane Do? also includes two talks in partnership with the Wheeler Centre that explore themes from Jacob's history that have enduring relevance: citizen activism, citizen-led development, and the complexity of preserving socially significant parts of the city. The first, The Battle For Our Buildings, takes place at 6.15-7.15pm on Tuesday 25th July. While there is strong support in Australia for preserving our historic buildings, this hasn't been enough to save some local landmarks, such as Bourke Street's Palace Theatre or Carlton's Corkman Irish Pub.

In this interesting panel discussion, themes including whether the bar for heritage protection is set too high, and how to decide what's worth saving, will be debated.

This is a free event, but you must reserve a place. Click here for more information and to secure your seat.

What Would Jane Do? Open House Melbourne 2017
Jane Jacobs at the White Horse Tavern in 1961 (Image credit: Cervin Robinson, from the Jane's Walk website -

Self-Made City is the second talk, taking place at 6.15-7.15pm on Wednesday 26th July. In her book The Death and Life of Great American Cities, published in 1961, Jacobs proposed the then contentious view that 'the real life of a city emerges from the ground up'. This panel discussion will focus on the best way to achieve 'engaged, practical city-making with a sense of play'.

Again, this event is free but bookings are essential. Click here for more information.

Both events will take place at the Wheeler Centre, 176 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne.

Finally, free walks in association with Jane's Walks will take place across the Open House Melbourne Weekend, 29-30th July 2017. Check the Open House website closer to the date for details.
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Why? Learn more about this inspiring woman whose ideas have shaped a planning blueprint for urban development
When: July 2017
Where: Various locations
Cost: Some events free, check websites for details
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