International examples of tactical urbanism

This resource from the Conversation provides examples from around the world of interventions in public spaces to respond to COVID-19, and, in particular, the requirements of social distancing. The two articles covered in this resource include initiatives for pedestrians and cyclists, from the Americas to New Zealand.

Date added 27 May 2020
Last updated 4 June 2020

Click to access resource 1 [external site] - "We can’t let coronavirus kill our cities. Here’s how we can save urban life”. Daly, Dovey, and Stevens (2020)

Click to access resource 2 [external site] - "Temporary urban solutions help us deal with crisis - and can lead to radical shifts in city space”. Martin, Deas, and Hincks (2020)

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The physical distancing requirements seen around the world to help keep people safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, are fundamentally changing people’s relationships to both each other and public space.

As places begin moving through to the recovery and transformation stages of the COVID-19 Recovery Framework, and more people begin to use public spaces once again, their design and management needs to be carefully (re)considered.

We are now witnessing people around the world engaging in tactical urbanism - low-cost, creative and flexible placemaking - to temporarily transform public spaces to ensure they meet the needs of users in the current climate (also see resource from Dr. Steve Millington on Tactical Urbanism). However, for those responsible for managing public spaces, challenges might arise around how to ensure they are both safe, as well as maintaining place attractiveness and liveability.

The two Conversation articles[2] featured in this resource provide a range of examples from around the world of tactical urbanism interventions in response to COVID-19. As the authors of one of the articles suggest: “We need to act swiftly to retrofit our public spaces so they are both safe and support social activity. Our goal must be to avoid a long-term legacy where people fear cities and other people”. This resource, therefore, can provide some inspiration around how public spaces might be temporality transformed to ensure the wellbeing of local communities, before longer-term visions are created and put into place.

 

Some featured examples:

 

Berlin - a range of pop-up infrastructure can be found across the city to provide safe public space for pedestrians and cyclists using simple, low-cost and flexible measures, such as painting yellow strips on roads, spray-painted bicycle pictograms, and traffic delineators.

 

Bristol - residents in the city have created more space for pedestrians and runners by spray-painting temporary runners’ lanes onto roads to ensure social distancing can be maintained.

 

Bogotá - streets once dominated by cars are being turned into bike lanes to encourage more cycling, reduce overcrowding on public transport, and to improve air quality. For example, 35km (22 miles) of traffic lanes have been replaced with new bike lanes using low-cost items such as temporary traffic cones.

 

Milan - 35km (22miles) of streets are to be transformed over the summer by implementing low-cost and flexible interventions to widen pavements, create temporary cycling lanes, introduce new speed limits, and form pedestrian and cyclist priority streets.

 

New Zealand - a tactical urbanism fund has been created to enable the widening of sidewalks and to carve out temporary cycleways to make public space safer for pedestrians and cyclists. Is it thought these low-cost measures can help to improve the health and wellbeing of residents and, if successful, could lead to longer-term transformations of public space.

 

Oakland - plans to create more pedestrian and cyclist-friendly ‘slow streets’ by closing around 74miles of city streets - around 10% of all roads in the city - to cars, through enacting low-cost tactical urbanism measures, such as using traffic cones and signage.


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Click to access resource 1 [external site] - "We can’t let coronavirus kill our cities. Here’s how we can save urban life”. Daly, Dovey, and Stevens (2020)

Click to access resource 2 [external site] - "Temporary urban solutions help us deal with crisis - and can lead to radical shifts in city space”. Martin, Deas, and Hincks (2020)