Remembering Jay Walljasper

Our work on creating livable places has benefited from many hands and minds, including like-minded journalists. Jay Walljasper was one of those journalists. As a young editor of the Utne Reader, Jay’s vision pushed the periodical to the forefront of influence in a time when the printed word was king. His work reflected much of what we believe and hope for, dished up in articles, books, lectures, and frequent conversations.

Jay died a few days before Christmas last month. The victim of an aggressive form of cancer that he could not outrun, Jay Walljasper was a friend to many in the APBP family.  To know Jay was to know more than a gifted writer.  Jay was, at heart, a student of people and places, a keen listener who absorbed details with child-like wonder, and a storyteller with a knack for framing big issues in a relatable way that helped to break down political and ideological walls.

Jay reflects on things that bring him joy in one of his final published articles, Treasure Hunt, which he asked be shared.

Jay’s thoughts about The Commons, articulated in his book, All That We Share, reminds us that we all have the right and responsibility to determine how our public space is used, including the public right-of-way. This message is particularly important in our work to build walkable and bikeable communities. His work on building neighborhoods, chronicled in The Great Neighborhood Book, is based on the theme of community ownership, as well.

More of Jay’s work is available on his website,

Some of his articles on bicycling, bicycle networks, and bicycling’s impact on our communities are linked below, many published by AARP:

Bicycles Aren’t Just for Kids:

E-bikes get older people riding:

How Better Biking Benefits Even People Who Don’t Bike:

Bike-Sharing Gets Older Adults Cycling:

7 Street-Level Solutions for Safer Cycling:

Bike-Sharing’s Past, Present and Future:

Vision Zero:

Lessons from Melbourne for US Cities:

20 Minute Village:

11 Ways to Make Streets Safe for Everyone:

5 Questions for Gil Penalosa about 8 80 Cities:

How to Go Car Free (or Car Lite):

Why Older Americans Might Benefit From Giving Up Their Car:

5 Questions About Vision Zero (Leah Shahum):

How transit, bikes & walking boost communities

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