Due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, Charlotte City Walks organizers have made the difficult decision to postpone the annual event, which was set to begin in May. The series of free, citizen-led walking tours organized by the Urban Institute usually runs throughout the month.
“For the health and well-being of our community, the University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is encouraging social distancing and the postponement of large community gatherings as a response to the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Angelique Gaines, a social research specialist at the Urban Institute who spearheads the program. “In adherence to this guidance, City Walks will be postponing its month of walking, biking and munching tours in May. These events will now be planned for the fall. Thank you for your understanding during this time.”
Modeled after the international program Jane’s Walks, which celebrate urbanist Jane Jacobs, City Walks started in Charlotte eight years ago. From a single walk that year led by historian Tom Hanchett, the program has grown to more than 40 walks in 2019, with hundreds of participants.
The goal is to get people out of their bubble, meeting new people and learning about parts of the city they might not otherwise see. Past walks have included tours of neighborhoods, public art and historic sites, as well as simulations examining topics such as what it’s like to live with visual impairments in Charlotte.
One popular part of City Walks are the “Munching Tours,” in which participants walk through an area and sample a selection of local restaurants. These walks highlight the cultural diversity in Charlotte that’s often overlooked. One small shopping center in east Charlotte, for example, features cuisine from Ethiopia, Nepal and several countries in the Middle East.
The Urban Institute will post an updated list of walks and announce exact timing before the program this fall. You can also find the latest information about UNC Charlotte’s response to coronavirus online at the university Emergency Management office.