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Tactical Urbanism: An Introduction
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Tactical Urbanism: An Introduction

Tactical Urbanism: An Introduction

82 min
Credit: AICP CMCNU-A

This course is eligible for 1.25 AICP CM credits.

Designer and doer Mike Lydon, CNU-A, has one mission: Improving the livability of our towns and cities starting at the street, block, or building scale. In this first course of a two course series, Lydon introduces Tactical Urbanism.

Sometimes sanctioned, sometimes not, these 'tactical' actions are commonly referred to as 'guerrilla urbanism,' 'pop-up urbanism,' 'city repair,' or 'D.I.Y. urbanism.' Tactical Urbanism embraces all of these actions with an approach that features these five characteristics: phased instigation, meeting local planning challenges, realistic and short term, low risk-high gain, and stakeholder capacity building. This course analyzes the drivers of local urbanism and the need for a strategy and tactics approach and addresses the necessary conditions for tactical urbanism to succeed. Key case studies are also presented to explain the movement. The course includes instruction for tactical place-making, traffic calming and re-design, pop-up commerce incubation, and more.

In This Course

  1. Mike Lydon introduces eight key learning objectives for the course.
  2. Key Trends
    Mike discusses how tactical interventions have been employed to help solve historical and current challenges facing cities. He also explores the land use patterns that present themselves to tactical urbanism, the contemporary "sharing economy," and the recent scaling of movements such as "complete streets."
  3. Build a Better Block, parklets, chair bombs, food trucks, guerrilla gardening, transformational 'hacks,' and temporary projects all share common features. Which of these projects are tactical urbanism, and which might fall under creative DIY placemaking? Which short-term actions lead to long-term change? Which become high-reward by creating more permanent public spaces and complete, safer, more hospitable streets? Mike addresses these topics and more in arguing for a definition of tactical urbanism.
  4. History and Spectrum of Actors
    From portable parks to medieval mobile libraries, tactical urbanist collaborations have existed in the lifeblood of cities immemorial. With a nod to Michel De Certeau's "strategies and tactics," Lydon demonstrates the methodology for the top-down/bottom-up cases at work, focusing on the New Urbanist motivations behind the planning and design of Seaside, Florida.
  5. Patterns of Adoption and Lessons Learned
    In this final chapter, Mike discusses calibrating for hyper-local physical, social, political conditions and realities. Mike elaborates on why “Cities are the original Internet": Innovation begets innovation, but also thoughtless mimicry and a failure to adapt. Key takeaways focus on scale, urban pattern, demographics, and political support.

Published 2013