2004: Jane Jacobs, O.C., O.ONT.

Jane JacobsJane Jacobs is considered to be among the most influential thinkers of the late 20th Century.  She was a celebrated author and urban activist known for her creative perceptiveness and profound ideas and beliefs concerning the development of cities. Her seminal work, The Death and Life of Great American Cities [1961] challenged the dominant establishment of modernist urban planning and asserted the wisdom of empirical observation and community intuition. After residing in New York City for thirty years, Jacobs moved with her family to Toronto in 1968, in opposition to the Vietnam War.

In the early 1970s she helped lead the Stop Spadina Campaign, to prevent the construction of a major highway through some of Toronto’s liveliest neighbourhoods.  Jacobs was a fierce critic of Ontario Hydro, supported broad revisions in Toronto’s Official Plan and other planning policies, and opposed expansion of the Toronto Island Airport. Her subsequent books include The Economy of Cities [1969], The Questions of Separatism [1980], Cities and the Wealth of Nations [1984], Systems of Survival [1993]; and most recently The Nature of Economies [2000].

Jane passed away in April 2006.  Her legacy continues to this day with Jane’s Walk , held in 75 cities and 15 countries around the world, on the first weekend of May each year. 

2016 Summer Conference

The Canada Project

Identity, Citizenship, and Nationhood in a Changing World

August 5-7, 2016
The YMCA Geneva Park Conference Centre, Orillia, ON

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Couchiching Connects
April 2017
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