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."

Thursday, September 3, 2015 in California Planning & Development Report

Green rapid transit bus pulled into station in dedicated lane.

Indiana Once Again Considering Ban on Dedicated Transit Lanes

The proposed legislation would impact the construction of planned IndyGo Blue Line, the third phase of the city’s bus rapid transit system.

February 25, 2024 - Fox 59

View of 110 freeway with downtown Los Angeles buildings in background.

LA Freeway Ramp ‘Quietly Canceled’

A 2018 lawsuit forced Metro and Caltrans to do full environmental reviews of the project, leading to its cancellation.

February 29, 2024 - Streetsblog LA

View from shore of Sepulveda Basin water catchment basin with marsh plants along shore.

LA’s ‘Spongy’ Infrastructure Captured Almost 9 Billion Gallons of Water

The city is turning away from stormwater management practices that shuttle water to the ocean, building infrastructure that collects and directs it underground instead.

February 25, 2024 - Wired

Blue and white Pittsburgh bike share bikes lined up at a station with a red city bus on street in background.

Micromobility Operators Call for Better Links to Transit

For shared mobility to succeed, systems must tap into the connectivity and funding potential offered by closer collaboration with public transit.

March 4 - GovTech

New York MTA Bus

Retaining Transit Workers Is About More Than Wages

An analysis of California transit employees found a high rate of burnout among operators who face unpredictable work schedules, high housing costs, and occasional violence.

March 4 - Streetsblog California

View of Hollywood Reservoir with palm trees in foreground and Los Angeles neighobrhoods in background.

California's Stormwater Potential

A new study reveals that if California could collect and treat more stormwater in cities, it could provide enough water to supply a quarter of the state’s urban population.

March 4 - Cal Matters

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.