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HindustanTimes Fri,25 Apr 2014

Explore the city’s hidden marvels with Jane Jacobs walks

Aarefa Johari, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, April 12, 2013
First Published: 02:14 IST(12/4/2013) | Last Updated: 02:15 IST(12/4/2013)

Strolling by the quiet East Indian bungalows of Matharpacady gaothan or urban village, discovering the white-tombed Hasanabad shrine in Mazgaon’s Mustafa Bazar and feasting your eyes on Bandra’s myriad food markets — these are some of the pleasures that India’s first set of Jane Jacobs Walks will offer Mumbaiites next month.

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The free walks, named after  American author and activist Jane Jacobs, were started in Toronto in 2007 and are held in cities around the world.

These walks, being held for the first time on a large scale in India, are being conducted in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Pondicherry.

Jane Jacobs walks require accreditation but can be hosted by any passionate resident or urban historian. Chennai-based non-profit organisation Urban Design Collective will organise the first walk in Pondicherry on May 4, followed by one in Chennai on May 5 and one in Mazgaon, Mumbai, on May 12. Two more walks are being organised in Mumbai — one in Bandra on May 19, conducted by entrepreneur Shormistha Mukherjee, and the other from Juhu to Bandra on June 16, conducted by non-profit organisation Urban Vision.

The Collective’s Mazgaon walk, to be hosted by architect Kavita Gonsalves, will focus on how the neighbourhood’s culture has been shaped by various communities. Registration for this walk is now closed, but the Bandra and Juhu walks are still open. “Bandra is famous for its nightclubs but I want them to experience the bakeries and meat markets where history comes alive,” said Mukherjee, who runs an ad agency and is co-hosting a walk on Hill Road, Chimbai Road with Gonsalves.

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