Looking to advance long-term community goals related to street safety, public space or walkability? Tactical urbanism could be an actionable strategy worth considering.
This effective, human-centered approach to neighborhood building has become a growing movement characterized by the altering of public spaces through temporary initiatives that seek to create beneficial, long-term development. At its core, tactical urbanism is designed to help people gain the ground they need to inspire real change and ignite progress toward improving the safety, functionality and enjoyability of their communities.
“We understand the benefits that interim approaches can have on getting desired projects off the ground for our clients―we’ve seen it happen firsthand,” explained Jennifer Michniewicz, P.E., PTOE, Transportation Project Manager at CPL. “Our planners and transportation engineers have successfully used low-cost tactical urbanism strategies to test what really works and jumpstart critical initiatives.”
The award-winning “Mid-City Stroll” in the City of Chamblee, GA was an exemplary public involvement event that leveraged tactical urbanism demonstration projects to yield valuable feedback on potential enhancements to the Peachtree Road Corridor and Rail Trail.
The City partnered with local businesses to create a street festival mirroring the proposed changes, which required all major intersections along Peachtree Road to be temporarily converted into 3-way stop intersections. Event participants were able to safely enjoy the Stroll’s provisionally designed route to see how current pedestrian walkability challenges could be improved in the future.
Additionally, a City parking lot was temporarily redesigned as a proposed park with indoor/outdoor carpet to substitute for grass as well as tables and yard games.
Public input was strongly encouraged at different check points throughout the Stroll with one area presenting “graffiti wall” banners that invited citizens to write what they wanted to see on Peachtree Road. Comments on the envisioned concepts were taken into consideration and accounted for in final designs.
Customized and scalable, tactical urbanism campaigns are all about getting noticed. Whether we’re placing temporary sidewalks to vet walkability, inserting movable plants and planters to visualize new streetscaping, installing “pop-up” parks to envision recreational opportunities, or creating improvised bike lanes to determine viability, each creative solution can become a catalyst for powerful change.
In addition to testing ideas and pinpointing the best options for our clients, the street-level strategies that we develop and deploy wind up generating meaningful public support and engagement along the way―an essential component for any community-based project.