Yesterday would have been Jane Jacobs’ 100th birthday. Jacobs work is still hugely influential in American and Canadian urban planning and policy, but what does her work have to do with SYA?
Eyes on the Street: Jacobs observed that in order for streets to be safe, they must have “eyes on the street.” While we often think of these eyes as belonging to older people sitting on porches or looking out windows, we cannot discount the importance and potential power of young eyes on the street. Young leaders are observant. They see and naturally care about what is going on around them. In their observation and awareness, they set an example for their peers.
Civic Engagement: Eyes on the street is part of a broader notion that communities function best when community members are active and engaged – whether that be in everyday life or rallying for/against a special cause, project or policy. Jacobs herself lead a victorious grassroots movement against the Lower Manhattan Expressway. A central mission of SYA is fostering Civic Engagement among Savannah’s youth.