Tactical Urbanism

Welcome to this week’s “Wednesday Workshop,” where we study the recipe behind Groveland’s Natural Charm. This week, we will explore Tactical Urbanism and a potential exciting opportunity for the City.

Tactical Urbanism, as defined by experts Mike Lydon and Anthony Garcia, is “an approach to neighborhood building and activation using short-term, low-cost and scalable interventions and policies.” For example, as Groveland revitalizes and attracts new development, temporary furnishings in proposed public spaces can allow residents and stakeholders the opportunity to visualize new potential gathering spaces. Tactical Urbanism allows citizens to craft immediate design solutions to improve their community and encourages cities to rapidly translate planning principles into practice.

Instead of one-size-fits-all answers, Tactical Urbanism involves flexible, innovative and thoughtful approaches to the distinct and dynamic needs of individual communities. Some of these creative practices include introducing street furniture to appeal to pedestrians, coordinating pop-up plazas in public spaces, developing pocket parks on underutilized street corners, and inserting temporary crosswalks, curb extensions and bike lanes as imagined by local residents. These can help planners and residents crystalize ideas and experiment with different concepts. Though Tactical Urbanism solutions are often temporary, if done well, they provide meaningful data to ignite effective long-term city projects.

Better Block, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, is a foundation working to educate and empower communities to reactivate the built environment of their cities through community engagement projects. Rapid prototyping machinery, such as computer numerical control (CNC) routers, allow planners, engineers and residents alike to experiment with design solutions utilizing relatively inexpensive materials.

Local Attorney Bret Jones of Law Offices of Bret Jones, P.A proposed a potential collaboration between his firm and the City of Groveland. Working with a CNC router to create tangible prototypes based on ideas from the community, Jones sees an opportunity to bring Tactical Urbanism interventions to downtown Groveland.

As Jones described, “Tactical Urbanism is action-oriented, small-scale, and functional. It allows for incremental and cheap improvements and changes that can have an immediate effect on a community. In this instance, we like the concept of making a CNC machine available on the community level to allow for community members to fabricate, prototype, and scale all kinds of things like furniture, fixtures, landscaping items (high top tables, benches, side tables, stools, planters, giant jenga, bean bag toss, etc) for pop-up parks and parklets, and anything else that their innovative minds can imagine.  It is a great way to engage and get the vision moving forward. We can't wait to see what happens!”

The Image Gallery features examples of Tactical Urbanism and previous projects completed by the Better Block foundation. Thank you for joining us today and stay tuned for future Wednesday Workshop posts!

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