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A Tactical Urbanism How-To

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Opportunities to apply Tactical Urbanism are everywhere—from a blank wall, to an overly wide street, to an underused parking lot or vacant property. As we have described, citizens may use Tactical Urbanism as a tool to draw attention to perceived shortcomings in policy and physical design, and municipal authorities, organizations, and project developers may use it as a tool to widen the sphere of public engagement, test aspects of a plan early and often, and expedite implementation so that it’s easier to build great places. We describe such initiatives as tactical because they use a deliberate and accessible means for achieving preset goals while embedding flexibility into the planning and project delivery process. Using the framework of design thinking, in this chapter we’ll explain our approach to any Tactical Urbanism project, drawing out specific lessons for citizen or government tacticians wherever possible.


  • Physical Design
  • Design Thinking
  • Project Idea
  • Project Element
  • Zebra Stripe

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In order to do something big, to think globally and act globally, one starts with something small and starts where it counts. Practice, then, is about making the ordinary special and the special more widely accessible—expanding the boundaries of understanding and possibility with vision and common sense. It is about building densely interconnected networks, crafting linkages between unlikely partners and organizations, and making plans without the usual preponderance of planning. It is about getting it right for now and at the same time being tactical and strategic about later.


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Lydon, M., Garcia, A. (2015). A Tactical Urbanism How-To. In: Tactical Urbanism. Island Press, Washington, DC.

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