Questioning the Privileges of Tactical Urbanism

Does tactical urbanism too-often benefit the point of view of a privileged population, leaving behind more pressing needs?
SPUR / Flickr

In a recent article, Barbara Ray pushes back on tactical urbanism, citing evidence that such acts of DIY "resistance" reflect the preference of a privileged few, which may not always be welcome.

Ray cites a study by Gordon C. C. Douglas, called "Do-It-Yourself Urban Design" from the 2013 issue of City and Community. According to Ray, Douglas finds a strong sense of self-entitlement ("most of these DIYers are white and educated, what Richard Florida would call the 'creative class'"). In fact, writes Douglas, "They’re making changes to their community based in large part on one's own preferences. At a minimum, 'we're not hurting anybody' is a pretty common sentiment."

Ray goes on to describe cases in Brooklyn and New Orleans where examples of tactical urbanism were not received as warmly as participants had expected and imply that such efforts often occur to the detriment of large problems like affordable housing, public education, and poverty.

Full Story: Do-it-Yourself Urban Planning

Comments

building block set

NEW! Build the world you want to see

Irresistible block set for adults when placed on a coffee table or desk, and great fun for kids.
$25
Red necktie with map of Boston

For dads and grads: tie one on to celebrate your city!

Choose from over 20 styles imprinted with detailed city or transit maps.
$44.95
T-shirt with map of Chicago

Show your city pride

Men's Ultrasoft CityFabric© tees. Six cities available.
$23.00
Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

New! 4th Edition of the Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs just released.
Starting at $24.95