What’s in a Name?

I could use Shakespeare’s help.

First Folio Shakespeare

After weeks of writing case statements and grant applications – with no end in sight –I have writer’s blockin deciding on an appropriate alternative name for Jane’s WalkCHICAGO.

As I’ve written before, the name Jane’s WalkCHICAGO ties this project to the global event, Jane’s Walk, which was originated by Jane Jacobs’ friends in Toronto.  I was drawn to the idea of participating in a global event that celebrated people and cities, through the simple act of walking together and discussing what makes a neighborhood. It seemed absurd to me that only seven US cities held walks in 2012, and that not one of them was in Chicago.

Jane at White Horse Tavern

But as I’ve worked on this project for the last eighteen months – and talked with Chicagoans about it – I’ve found that it really needs another name.

Among people with a background in urban planning and architecture, the name Jane Jacobs rings a bell.  But for most other people, it doesn’t.  Within the latter group (at least the people I talk with), the idea of walking around – and learning about – neighborhoods in Chicago that they are unfamiliar with is generally pretty appealing.

There are so many opportunities for one-of-a-kind experiences in Chicago.  When I talk with people about potential content of walks in Bronzeville, Lawndale, Pullman, Pilsen, or Rogers Park, their eyes light up.  And when I talk about how the weather in Chicago limits when participants want to be outside, and so I’d like to schedule a series of panel discussions and lectures on different neighborhoods, they laugh (sometimes ruefully) and respond with topic and location suggestions.  The idea clearly resonates in these conversations.

But I want something witty, memorable, maybe something that makes a good acronym.  These are the alternatives so far:

·         Stroll Chicago

·         Walk and Talk Chicago

·         Celebrate Chicago

I’m leaning toward Walk and Talk Chicago, which makes WATC… whatsee?  There must be something better than that.

where art thou?”

Photos: http://shakespeare.mit.edu/shake.gif;  http://bit.ly/1eOrpsU

3 thoughts on “What’s in a Name?

  1. Having never done a Jane’s Walk, I’m not sure what it is that you’re naming. If it’s really lectures around a neighborhood and conversations as you walk through a neighborhood, then WATC is great. If there’s more exploration along the lines of a street fair –then maybe not. I think walking is important in the title since people who are mobility challenged will know that they’ll need to plan for that.

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