Tactical Urbanism Movement

From time to time, cities as agglomerations of built environment and so many anthropogenic elements have gone through so many issues in many aspects of urban living. But subsequently, a city tends to grow into a gigantic multidimensional system that its problems cannot be fixed with a mono-approach solution. Every city regardless its size, geographical setting, population, historical value, economic and social aspects, as well as existing urban structure, has resulted in a unique and specific kind of urban chemistry that is usually different from another. Many times, conventional and general approach of studies or engineering solutions failed to read the essence of a city’s development and fell short of comprehensiveness in understanding a designated urban problem that entwines thousands of unpredictable factors. That is why urban-related issues are context-based matters and require ad-hoc and flexible approach that would provide different variant of solutions with a simplified methodology and can be started from and to any direction. With the right understanding and thoughtful consideration, a city could be a growing organic system in which its liveability can be assured for the people who live in it.


Tactical Urbanism, a Form of Urban Interventions

As one of a thousand ways is tactical urbanism movement. Tactical urbanism is a collection of low-cost and temporary changes to the built environment intended to improve local neighbourhoods and city gathering places, which is often citizen-led but also can be initiated by other entities (Pfeifer, 2014).  Tactical Urbanism is also well known as guerilla urbanism, pop-up urbanism, or D.I.Y. urbanism. The movement is to introduce prototypes of physical urban interventions, which could be in a form of collective projects, occasional activities, urban events, design or social actions, mini constructions, art and graphic statements, and other creative initiatives.


The initiated urban topics vary from retail to arts, daily activities, health and sport, food culture, environment, gardening, mobility, or anything that matters and becomes interesting for the local citizens. The purpose is to instigating change with a context and local based approach, be equipped with low risk program and plans, enhance organizational power, be done with short commitment and realistic short-term targets but expecting long-term changes, and being generated openly to encourage public participation (Lydon et al., 2012).


Tactical urbanism could be a methodology to provide a bottom up tools that can convey a message, as well as enable a better urban mechanism. For the participants and the other citizens, actions motivated by tactical urbanism approach are also to give them new urban experience that can stimulate their mental and biological senses. This is also a way to encourage people to be more active and care about their surrounding environment. Anyone who contributes are concretizing their concerns to the better living environment in the future, in a hope that once the prototype is successfully implemented and well-proven, the idea would spread out.


Tactical Projects Around The World

Some eye-catching and meaningful projects of tactical urbanism movement are:



The Umbrella Sky Project by Sextafeira Produções in Agueda, Portugal.


Walk your city by CityFabric, Raleigh – North Carolina, United States.


Before I Die by Candy Chang, started in New Orleans but spread worldwide.


Park(ing) Day by Rebar Group, worldwide.


And many else more. Further information about Tactical Urbanism can be found here. These interesting projects are also usually scalable and replicable. Therefore, it can be applied at anywhere or any neighborhood in a city.


Header image credit: Sextafeira Produções

Leave a Reply