Live from CNU 20: Tactical Urbanism at NextGen
We’re live from CNU 20 in West Palm Beach, Florida and the first day has kicked off with NextGen, a one day Congress of the next generation of urbanists discussing some of the most innovative trends in the field of urbanism as well as the major challenges facing the movement.
One of the most intriguing presentations was by Mike Lydon, founder of the Streets Plans Collaborative, talking about tactical urbanism, essentially a method of planning that involves first step approaches that evolve into long-term implementable solutions. A great example of this is Times Square in New York, where the Bloomberg Administration implemented a pedestrian-only zone in a very short time frame, with little financial or physical resources, but over time the change has become permanent and will ultimately morph into a complete redesign that incorporates the new plazas.
The idea here is to test ideas and learn from the process as it moves forward. We’ve seen this before with other ideas that have seeped into the mainstream, like Pop-Up cities or bike share, but it was nice to see some less known ideas be mentioned, including Guerilla Gardening and Park(ing) Day. Mike stressed the fact that tactical urbanism is a byproduct of the way that Gen Y is changing planning, with their outcome-oriented thinking, that often bypasses the process itself for immediate results.
I do wonder about a potential alienation-effect here, where a small few make major changes to the way that a large majority of the population lives and works without enough thought. Until now, it’s been quite successful, but as the movement grows and more projects come online, will splinter groups implement changes that don’t have enough consensus around them that could hurt the larger idea? It’s an interesting discussion, and one we look forward to hearing more about as the Congress continues.
Sustainable Cities Collective