9 April 2016

Jane's Walks have something for everyone

Source: Jane's Walk Singapore page. Snippet showing two walks.
Source: Jane's Walk Singapore page.

Jane's Walk, a global movement of free, citizen-led walking tours inspired by Jane Jacobs, will be back from May 6 to 8. Jacobs (1916-2006) was an urbanist and activist whose writings championed a new community-based approach to city building. Based on the premise that everyone knows something about where they live, the walks are organised around the world to celebrate Jacobs' ideas. The walks encourage people to tell stories about their communities, explore the areas they live in, and connect with neighbours.

In Singapore, awareness of Jane's Walks has grown significantly, says Mai Tatoy, City Organiser for Jane's Walk in Singapore. According to Tatoy, a number of organisers from previous years have reprised their walks. "There is an increase in awareness with the Jane's Walk Peatix group and Peatix featuring the walks on their main page. Most people find us online - which is great!" she said.

Some walks - which generally accommodate between 12 and 25 participants per walk - are already sold out, a month ahead of the event. Ticket sales for the De Wild Faber Trek with the Singapore Adventurer’s Club, checking out World War II bunkers and exploring the lost reservoirs of Keppel is already closed. Another popular walk, BES Drongos Guided Nature Walk at the Petai Trail, MacRitchie Reservoir, is also sold out. Available walks include:
11am to 1pm

Starting from Fullerton Bay Hotel concierge at Clifford Pier, Florence Minjoot, the resident Fullerton Heritage tour guide, will lead a stroll along the Fullerton Heritage precinct at Marina Bay, explaining the history of the Fullerton Hotel, Customs House, Waterboat House and Clifford Pier. This is Minjoot's second time doing a Jane's Walk.
6.30pm to 8.30pm

A dusk-to-dark guided walk through Bukit Brown Cemetery. Listen to stories of the pioneers that helped build Singapore, while looking out for night birds such as night jars and owls.

Torch lights required.

The walk team consists of Bianca Polak, Walk Organizer and one of the volunteer guides conducting free heritage tours in Bukit Brown cemetery, Andrew Lin, a volunteer guide at Bukit Brown Cemetery and is an avid historian, and Tatoy.

May 7: Jalan Besar Trail: Embracing the Possibility for Unexpected Change
9.30am to 11.30am

This walk, by The Thought Collective (TTC), is a learning journey that explores how we can build trust between communities to share our common space.

TTC is a group of social enterprises that offers new possibilities into the way we think, live and serve in communities. It designs experiences such as trails to inspire change within our communities, and to empower individuals to contribute to building a better Singapore.

May 7: Cross Island Route from Venus Drive to Bukit Brown
3.30pm to 6.30pm

Walk from Venus Drive at MacRitchie via the proposed cross-island line route to Sime Road, where Bukit Brown cemetery is, with Walk Leader Beng Tang and Co-walk Leader Tatoy. Tang will continue through Bukit Brown for those interested.

Come prepared for rain and bring sufficient drinking water and insect repellent. It is is about 6km from Venus Drive to Bukit Brown (3 hours), then another 3km or so inside Bukit Brown (1 to 1.5 hours).

Tang guides walks focusing on both nature and heritage and his edible fruits and vegetables tour through Bukit Brown are popular.

May 7: Tiong Bahru Charm
5pm to 7pm

Tiong Bahru, known for Art Deco apartments that predate the current government, mom and pop shops where the shopkeepers have time to chat and give freebies and a laid-back vibe, is undergoing gentrification. Join this walk to discuss the challenges facing the district and how various scenarios could play out.

Isabel Servando, Walk Leader, is a Pinoy writer, volunteer Tiong Bahru guide and teacher.

May 8: Love MacRitchie Walk at Venus Loop
8.30am to 11.30am

The MacRitchie Forest Trail at Venus Drive has become more well-known in recent months as the proposed Cross Island MRT Line is likely to affect the MacRitchie Forest. The trail runs along the banks of a forest stream that is full of freshwater life, from dragonflies and crabs to water snakes and fish.

The dirt path is relatively level and suitable for children, the elderly and the physically-challenged. Be prepared for some mud.

Walk Leader Chloe Tan is part of the NUS Toddycats!, volunteers of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum.

May 8: Dragons, Temples and Queens: Toa Payoh Past and Present
2pm to 4pm

Walk around one of Singapore’s oldest satellite towns –celebrating its golden jubilee this year – with long-time resident Jinhua Kuek and historian Eisen Teo. "It's the experience of walking through an urban space constantly in flux that's unique," says Teo.

Follow them to landmarks such as the famous Dragon Playground, part of a former SEAP Games Village, and the block once graced by no less than Queen Elizabeth II herself. Learn about the evolution of Toa Payoh through the decades and see how the constant changes are reminiscent of the evolution and growth of an entire country.

Be sure to bring along your smartphones and cameras as you’ll see Toa Payoh like you’ve never seen it before.

Walk Leader Kuek is a freelance writer, editor and translator, and a long-time resident of Toa Payoh. His interests are in public transport issues, languages, music, culture and the performing arts. He manages Singapore's rotation curation initiative on Twitter, @hellofrmsg, where a new voice from Singapore comes on board every week to share their knowledge, experiences and views.

Co-walk Leader Teo is a full-time history researcher and docent with a Singapore-based heritage consultancy. He also spends his free time researching Singapore history, transport and urban issues, and is currently working on a book on Singapore history. In 2012, he co-founded SG Tipsy Trivia, Singapore's only Singapore-themed pub quiz outfit.

May 8: A Writer's Memory Lane

This Walk will begin at the Admin Bldg of SMU-Singapore Management University - and culminate at Raffles City. Though physically short, the distance covered in terms of reach and history will be enormous. Guide Kirpal studied where Raffles City stands today.

Walk leader Professor Kirpal Singh is a poet, literary and cultural critic, and university lecturer in English language and literature. Currently an Associate Professor with the Singapore Management University (SMU), he has written and published three collections of poetry. 


Lead a walk, or register for one in Singapore via global event registration platform Peatix. More walks will be up by 20 April. All walks state where to meet, and guides will be holding a sign saying 'Jane's Walk'.

Look for a walk in another city

Read the WorkSmart Asia blog post about Jane's Walks last year

Hashtags: #community, #design, #heritage, #janeswalktoapayoh, #nature, #storytelling, #suburbs