Sisters Spark Tactical Urbanism in Philadelphia

Young activists Emaleigh and Ainé Doley take matters into their own hands to clean up their neighborhood street in run-down Germantown.

1 minute read

June 29, 2012, 5:00 AM PDT

By Akemi Leung


With their neighbors losing homes to foreclosure, community activists Emaleigh and Ainé Doley watched as renters moved in--bringing with them "a trifecta of poverty, drugs, and violence."

Inga Saffron reports that the Doleys started "Grow This Block" to combat the decline of their Germantown neighborhood in Philadelphia. Publicized by their own blog and Tweets, the Doley sisters created community events, such as trash pickup, gardening, and low-cost neutering for the rapidly multiplying stray cats.

Urban planner Mike Lydon calls this kind of grassroots action "tactical urbanism." Sometimes, these "tactical" efforts catch the attention of the municipal government, as it did when Miami residents spray-painted weeds to get officials to clean up an abandoned lot. Lydon concedes that, "this kind of approach doesn't replace the need for conventional planning."

Saturday, June 9, 2012 in The Philadelphia Inquirer

View of Mount Hood at golden hour with Happy Valley, Oregon homes in foreground.

Clackamas County Votes to Allow ADUs, Residential RVs

County officials hope the zoning changes will help boost the housing supply in the region.

June 18, 2024 - Mountain Times

Single-family homes in a suburban neighborhood in Florida.

New Florida Law Curbs HOA Power

The legislation seeks to cut down on ‘absurd’ citations for low-level violations.

June 16, 2024 - The Guardian

Aerial view of intersection in New York City with yellow cabs and zebra crosswalks.

Planners’ Complicity in Excessive Traffic Deaths

Professor Wes Marshall’s provocatively-titled new book, "Killed by a Traffic Engineer," has stimulated fierce debates. Are his criticisms justified? Let’s examine the degree that traffic engineers contribute to avoidable traffic deaths.

June 13, 2024 - Todd Litman

View of Palos Verdes Drive along Pacific Ocean in Palos Verdes, California at sunset.

Erosion Threatens SoCal Road, Lloyd Wright Icon

The city of Palos Verdes is closing parts of a roadway to cyclists, citing safety concerns as the land underneath moves between 7 and 12 inches per week.

7 hours ago - Daily Breeze

Faded image of vacant storefront in rural area with American flag stars painteind on windows.

COVID Isn’t to Blame for the Retail Vacancy Crisis

A drop in demand for retail space began well before the seismic shifts of the pandemic.

June 23 - Slate

Heavy New York City traffic headed toward Holland Tunnel in Manhattan.

Judge Rules in Favor of MTA in Congestion Pricing Suit

Advocates of the program are calling on Gov. Hochul to reinstate the program in light of the decision.

June 23 - StreetsBlog NYC

City Planner I

Department of Housing and Community Development

City Planner II

Department of Housing and Community Development

City Planner Supervisor

Department of Housing and Community Development

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.