Is Tactical Urbanism a Thing?

A review of the book by Mike Lydon and Anthony Garcia asks the question. The answer is a clear "yes."

1 minute read

September 20, 2015, 11:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Sunset Plaza

Kenneth A. Wilson / Flickr

Josh Stephens reviews Tactical Urbanism for the California Planning & Development Report, noting that the concept "Tactical Urbanism" has solidified its place in the cultural milieu enough to be considered, indeed, "a thing."

"The reification of tactical urbanism has arrived now for four reasons, according to Lydon and Garcia: shifting demographics, radical connectivity, the Great Recession, and citizen frustration. They translate to, respectively, millenials' [sic] return to center cities, the Internet and smart phones, and the high cost of development; the last one is self-explanatory."

Stephens's review of the book describes the book as more of a "how-to guide" than dense theorizing. Worth noticing, according to Stephens's interpretation, is what the growing practice of "Tactical Urbanism" says about the world. Stephens writes: "Practitioners of tactical urbanism wouldn’t need to change the landscape if it wasn’t so lousy in the first place. Typical city planning practices are simply too slow and the concern for stakeholder input perhaps too earnest. They write, 'our cities are suffering because there is simply too much process and not enough doing.' This is a radical manifesto born of frustration."

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