observe! Patch


The Center for the Living City, with support from the Ford Foundation, has selected an energetic, creative and committed Fellow, Kat Nix, to advance a meaningful project for girls and young women throughout the world.

One of the main goals of this Jane Jacobs Fellowship is to develop civically engaged voices of young women that lead to local and global action in the places they care about. The girls and young women will participate in a community-based patch program, learn about cities and develop skills that will amplify their voices as they engage in place-based, creative action. 

Women and girls are deeply affected by misogynistic behaviors and attitudes prevalent in societies around the globe. The impacts are often internalized, creating barriers that diminish and even silence their voices. Urgent problems facing communities, including the impacts of climate change, rapid urbanization, access to safe drinking water and sanitation, food deserts and other deficiencies are also opportunities for creative responses from the change-makers of the future. Inspired by the broad impacts of women like Jane Jacobs, Wangari Maathai, and recently, Malala Yousafzai, girls and young women have both new role models and new narratives to help them navigate through inequalities and push for creative expression. This program will provide skills and tools that both inform action and support their developing voices. 

Girl Scouts of Utah troop #496 lead a group of girls on a Jane Jacobs Walk. Spring 2016 Salt Lake City, UT. 

Girl Scouts of Utah troop #496 lead a group of girls on a Jane Jacobs Walk. Spring 2016 Salt Lake City, UT. 

The Jane Jacobs Fellow works with the Center for the Living City and is seeking to engage the Girl Scouts of the USA, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) and other worldwide organizations to identify, create and disseminate resources to implement the Observe! patch globally.

This fellowship builds upon a successful pilot project with the Girl Scouts of Utah during spring of 2016 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The project focused on Jacobs’ groundbreaking work about the importance of observation. Beginning with the reading of Glenna Lang’s book, Genius of Common Sense: Jane Jacobs and the Story of the Death and Life of Great American Citiesthe girls came to understand the importance of Jacobs’ voice in our evolving understanding of cities. Lang’s book both describes Jacobs’ young life in Scranton, Pa., where she was herself a Girl Scout, and opens a window on Jacobs’ bold voice as she worked to understand the ways cities work.

Once the girls and young women understand how Jacobs developed her powerful observational skills to create new knowledge about cities, they will create individual Jane Jacobs Walks that introduce one another to their unique communities. These elements might include, but are not limited to, those which may cause concern or joy, inform a sense of history, address problems of housing, mobility, food justice, access to education and sanitation, or a host of other problems witnessed through their observational skills. They are invited to propose ways to preserve, celebrate, heal or transform an area they discover. In each case, their discoveries open pathways for creative action and a working vocabulary of the ecology of cities.



Kat Nix graduated from the University of Utah in May of 2016 with a Bachelor’s in Urban Ecology and a minor in Multidisciplinary Design. For the last four years, she has worked with at-risk Latinx youth in the Salt Lake Valley through the University of Utah’s College of Social Work. She loves working with youth and is passionate about creating equal opportunities for marginalized populations. She deeply believes creative placemaking, social and environmental diversity, unencumbered play and observation are key to vibrant communities. Kat is excited to be working with the Center of the Living City to help young womxn and girls around the globe to claim their voices and create meaningful change in their communities.