An introduction to Tactical Urbanism

In this 10-minute video, Dr Steve Millington of the Institute of Place Management provides an introduction to 'tactical urbanism' - an umbrella term for community-led, low-cost and scalable place-based interventions. Dr. Millington applies this discipline to the requirements of social distancing in response to COVID-19, looking at examples from around the world that could be implemented locally.

Date added 27 May 2020
Last updated 11 June 2020

The COVID-19 Recovery Framework identifies 'accessibility', 'managing social distancing' and 'managing footfall' as key activities to be managed by high streets in the pre-recovery and recovery stages of COVID19. These activities are primarily driven by the need to observe a minimum 2 metre distance between people on the high street, using its businesses and services and navigating its public spaces.

So, how can we quickly adapt public space?

This is a challenge for local authorities and other place leaders, both in terms of the legal and planning frameworks for action, and creatively in reimagining spaces that are typically hidden or underused. Dr. Steve Millington looks at the theme of tactical urbanism which provides an approach to this challenge via its ethos of community-led and low-cost place-based interventions. 

Dr. Millington introduces the potential impact of tactical urbanism for places in this context, with four main objectives for those managing high streets:

  • Immediate reclamation, redesign and reprogramming of public space

  • Make places safer and more liveable - quickly

  • Collect design intelligence and data

  • Put best practice into practice – quickly

The video then highlights some example interventions that could be considered in the tradition of tactical urbanism, reflecting on how they might be adapted for other places and the challenges to doing so.

More resources related to tactical urbanism

Read the High Streets Task Force 10-point checklist for tactical urbanism - View the checklist  

You can find more specific examples of tactical urbanism via other case studies that are part of the High Streets Task Force resources repository: