Once thought to be an urban design trend, April’s Landscape Architecture Magazine focuses its April issue on the enduring power of Tactical Urbanism. Along with many other colleagues and collaborators, Street Plans’ work is prominently featured in the Magazine’s lead article. “The appeal of these kinds of interventions is a kind of made-by-hand aesthetic,” Lydon says. “It feels very human. It speaks to people who are not designers in a very important way. Most people who engage with these spaces don’t read Landscape Architecture Magazine. They don’t understand an axial or an aerial plan. But they get the immediacy and the human quality and the materiality.”
As one of the movement’s founders, Mike Lydon recognizes the limits of temporary public space. Tactical urbanism isn’t going to solve issues such as affordable housing, access to transit, and food access, but it can be done in tandem with that, he says. “It’s never about just the one day or the one month of the project, but where we are on the arc of transformation and making political and social change.”
It’s Landscape Architecture month, so the whole issue is free!
Burlington, VT’s Quick Build Program is underway! The City of Burlington’s Department of Public Works built the City’s first protected bike lane on Union Street on October 12-13.
This project was first identified in the PlanBTV Walk Bike Master Plan – Burlington’s first citywide planning effort focused on active transportation. Street Plans led the creation of this master plan and, with the support of Dubois & King, was then hired by the City of Burlington Department of Public Works to develop and implement a citywide Quick Build program. The program provides an interim design approach to delivering a range of priority street design projects outlined in the PlanBTV Walk Bike Master Plan, which was recently approved by the City Council in April of 2017.
The protected bike lane on Union Street is the first of many Quick Build projects identified in the Master Plan.
A recent article from African Urbanism, an urban planning blog about developments in West African cities, discussed whether Tactical Urbanism was viable in African cities. The article mentions Street Plans and the recent popularity and emergence of Tactical Urbanism as a legitimate planning method.
Street Plans certainly agrees with the article’s major points that Tactical Urbanism isn’t a prescriptive method of solving West African cities’ public space issues in the same way that it functions in the European or American context.
African cities have a “wealth of bottom-up, community-centered activities that already do take place as part of everyday community life in the African city – including urban informality.” This urban informality often reflects resident’s social/cultural values and everyday needs and exposes the government’s failure to work with residents to plan for better communities.
Not every small-scale, nimble, DIY intervention should be considered ‘Tactical’, but if Tactical Urbanism is to have a place in African cities, the existing urban informality must first be addressed, and Tactical Urbanism projects must be highly collaborative and contextualized for the local people, place, and culture.
“I’m feeling encouraged. The impact of this project alone may not seem like much, but a lot of little things add up to a bigger-picture movement,” says Street Plans’ Principal Tony Garcia.
The ‘Next City’ article also mentions Miami-Dade County’s Quick-Build Program–a partnership between the Miami-Dade County Department of Transportation and Public Works and local nonprofit Green Mobility Network–which provides funding and technical assistance to residents and community groups who want short-term, low-cost transportation improvements to their neighborhood.
Street Plans is leading the development of design drawings and permit acquisition, and overall project management of the Quick-Build Program. Street Plans will build the projects with the project teams and community volunteers.
Tony Garcia says “the ideal outcome is a significant expansion of our trail network and the wide-scale adoption and construction of protected bike lanes all around the county. The constituency is building and growing in a way that never has before. I think our policymakers and planners are just trying to catch up.”
Next City, one of the leading sources of journalism on urban affairs, interviewed Street Plans’ Principal Mike Lydon to discuss how and why Street Plans is working with cities to sanction Tactical Urbanism. The article mentions Street Plans’ Tactical Urbanism workshop with the City of Fayetteville, Arkansas (pictured above) and how that empowered the City to then create a Tactical Urbanism policy that enables citizens to create their own projects.
“We’re helping design policy that’s intended to be flexible and is able to respond to issues that come up that you can’t account for in a vacuum. You can’t necessarily create the best design on a computer screen. You need to work things out in the street and [City Sanctioned Tactical Urbanism] is the best path for doing that.” – Mike Lydon
CityWorks Xpo, a national placemaking idea exchange and festival conference, interviewed Street Plans’ Principal Mike Lydon in a podcast released last week. Mike talks about how Tactical Urbanism allows cities and citizens to quickly make change to their streets, more broadly engage and cooperate with communities, and iteratively test various street design concepts.
Street Plans’ Project Director Julie Flynn will speak to the Marin County Bicycle Coalition on Tuesday, August 1st, about the effectiveness that pilot bicycle improvements have in allaying a community’s fear of change, also known as NIMBYism (Not In My Backyard), and their ability to more quickly make safer streets.
“Pilot projects allow cities to better understand impacts before plans are finalized. Perhaps more importantly, they enable people to reimagine streets as more than conduits for traffic. Please join MCBC in welcoming Julie Flynn to Marin to learn about her work transforming streets around the world, one pilot project at a time.”
StreetFilms released a new video discussing the most recent trends in the Tactical Urbanism movement and interviewed Street Plans’ Principal Mike Lydon.
“Tired of waiting for local governments to fix dangerous conditions, in many cities everyday citizens are practicing DIY traffic-calming to make streets safer for walking and biking. Some are forming “Departments of Transformation” to show others how to implement low-cost interventions, like traffic cones, to slow drivers down.”
This week was the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Global Summit held in New York City. Street Plans took part in the Summit, leading a 3 hour workshop on Tuesday with 13 cities from around the world, helping them use the incremental approach of Tactical Urbanism to implement their larger resilient city strategies.
On Wednesday, Street Plans co-organized a “living lab” with 100 Resilient Cities, ioby, and Neighborland. We led a tour of three Brooklyn neighborhoods, highlighting the local organizations that make them more resilient. As part of the tour, we also led the group of city leaders through a 2 hour long Tactical Urbanism demonstration project in coordination with the Court/Smith BID to display how residents and community groups can quickly and cheaply add more public space in their neighborhoods.
The American Planning Association (APA) selected Street Plans’ session “Tactical Urbanism: People and Pavement” as one of the Top 10 sessions, out of more than 160, at the APA 2017 National Planning Conference (NPC) held back in May.
The Tactical Urbanism session covered how local governments can create or alter policies to enable short-term, low-cost urban interventions. The session gave the audience practical steps and tools to create and implement a Tactical Urbanism program in their community.