Jane & Laurayne’s Walk
Explore Downtown Bridgeport
Explore Colorful Downtown Bridgeport on our Jane & Cesar’s Way video walking tour!
You can learn about the legacy of Cesar Batalla and explore the places he impacted in the city of Bridgeport. While you walk to or bike those spots, think about how you feel about the places you explore, what makes them special or unique, what about them are quintessentially Bridgeport, and other kinds of places that are needed in the Downtown. Answer those questions and you will be well on your way to becoming your own version of Cesar or Jane!
We have held “Jane’s Walks Bridgeport” for the last six years – building on the international Jane’s Walk event inspired by the urban activist Jane Jacobs, whose focus on human-centered and community-led neighborhood development has made a lasting imprint on how cities are planned and built. We have expanded the concept and renamed the event in honor of our own “local Jane Jacobs”: Cesar Batalla (more about him below).
About Cesar Batalla: Cesar Batalla’s three decades of activism and energy touched the lives of thousands, from which he emerged as a significant figure in the political, ethnic, and community life of Bridgeport. The Batalla family arrived in Bridgeport in the early 1950s from Aguas Buenas, Puerto Rico, when Cesar was a child. Batalla later graduated from Bassick High School and went on to the University of Bridgeport. After service in the army during the Vietnam War, he worked briefly at City Trust before joining the Southern Connecticut Gas Company, where he would become community relations director. It was when low-income Latinos picketed the gas company over a new requirement for service deposits that Batalla’s social awareness was awakened. Cesar talked to people in the picket lines and began learning about their problems. From then on, he never stopped learning about social concerns — and acting on them. During his lifetime, he worked with many social organizations, took key roles in lawsuits that charged discrimination toward minorities in the city’s Fire and Police departments, as well as segregation in public schools. Roughly a decade after his death, one of Bridgeport’s elementary schools was named in 2007 after this icon to honor his legacy. Learn more about Cesar Batalla here.
Thank you to all of our partners in creating this celebration of Downtown Bridgeport, Cesar Batalla, community-driven city building, and creating connections between neighbors: American View Productions, Art Simplicated, Bridgeport Caribe Youth Leaders, Bridgeport Generation Now, City Lights Gallery, Edwin Rivera Quartet, Greater Bridgeport Latino Network, and the Kuchma Corporation.
To learn more about Jane, Cesar, and community-driven city building, check out these great watches and reads:
- How to Make an Attractive City (14:20): https://youtu.be/Hy4QjmKzF1c
- Survival of a Small City about South Norwalk (66:34, documentary): https://archive.org/details/survivalofasmallcity
- Citizen Jane: Battle for the City (93:00, documentary): http://www.altimeterfilms.com/citizen-jane-battle-for-the-city
- How to Revive Neighborhood, Theaster Gates (16:52, TED Talk): https://www.ted.com/talk/theaster_gates_how_to_revive_a_neighborhood_with_imagination_beauty_and_art
- How Public Spaces Work, Amanda Burden (18:16, TED Talk): https://www.ted.com/talk/amanda_burden_how_public_spaces_make_cities_work?language=en
- Last Dance on the Main, Aristofanis Soulikias (3:08): https://vimeo.com/99011728
- Transform your City with Tactical Urbanism, Clarence Eckerson, Jr. (8:22): http://www.metamorphosis-project.eu/multimedia/video/transform-your-city-tactical-urbanism
- Snowy Neckdowns Redux: Winter Traffic Calming, Clarence Eckerson, Jr. (3:12): https://www.streetfilms.org/snowy-neckdowns-redux-winter-traffic-calming/
- Who was Jane Jacobs?, http://janeswalk.org/about/about-jane-jacobs/
- “Downtown is for People” (fortune magazine, 1958), by Jane Jacobs: https://fortune.com/2011/09/18/downtown-is-for-people-fortune-classic-1958/
- The Death and Life of Great American Cities, by Jane Jacobs: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780679741954
- Corridor: Bridgeport, Volume 1, by Tyler and James Silvestro: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37981700-bridgeport-connecticut
- The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces, by William H. Whyte: https://www.pps.org/product/the-social-life-of-small-urban-spaces
- Wrestling with Moses, by Anthony Flint: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780812981360
- Cesar Batalla by Prof. Sonya Huber: https://bportlibrary.org/hc/education/cesar-batalla/
- Puerto Rican Passages documentary (59:45): https://youtu.be/z8qYVfBytk0
- TOP Station Interview on the Bridgeport Young Lords with Willie Matos (126:22): https://www.facebook.com/eddie.t.martinez/videos/2063162267039513
Our Jane & Cesar’s Way video tour project was made possible with generous support from the Connecticut Humanities Fund, supported by funding from the State of Connecticut and the National Endowment for the Humanities.