The Jane Jacobs Prize is an annual award that celebrates individuals who contribute to the fabric of Toronto life in unique ways that exemplify the ideas of Jane Jacobs. The prize recipients reflect the diverse aspects of city life. They may not always agree on what makes the city work or what the answers are to making it work better, but their observations and backgrounds have become part of our urban experience and enrich our lives.
The Jane Jacobs Prize was first announced in 1997 at the end of a five-day international celebration called Jane Jacobs: Ideas that Matter. Hundreds of the world’s most prominent thinkers and community leaders attended the Toronto event to exchange ideas and celebrate Jacob’s work in the areas of cities, economies and values.
At the end of the event, Ideas that Matter chairman Alan Broadbent announced that the Jane Jacobs Prize would be created to build on the spirit of the gathering. In 2014, Spacing magazine took over the selection and administration of the award.
Potential recipients of The Jane Jacobs Prize are identified through an extensive, diverse network of spotters who are asked to anonymously nominate candidates. Each candidate must:
- Live and work in the Greater Toronto region
- Be active in the community in some exemplary way
- Be an unsung hero who is not particularly well known
- Be making a contribution that provides a model for others
A committee comprised of Ideas that Matter advisory members make the final selection.
Each recipient of The Jane Jacobs Prize receives $3,000 each year for three years. The recipient is able to spend the money in any way they choose. In addition, prize recipients are invited to meet together to discuss their experiences and knowledge of what makes this city work.
Sureya Ibrahim makes sure Regent Park residents have a voice in their dramatically changing community, while Cynthia Wilkey and Julie Beddoes have safeguarded the public’s interest in the transformation of the waterfront.
There have been 20 winners of The Jane Jacobs Prize since 1999. Check out the full listing of recipients.