Tactical Urbanism: Making it Happen

As we embark on our COVID-19 Road to Recovery, our panel declared that the moment for tactical urbanism has come.

On Tuesday, 18 August the Committee and member organisation Arup hosted Committee members for a round table on Tactical Urbanism – Making it happen in Melbourne now. We welcomed experts Joanne Carmichael, Sub Regional Lead for Advisory, Planning and Design NSW and ACT and Mark Rowland, Transport and Highways Advisory Leader from Arup, Peter Smith, CEO, City of Port Phillip and Jocelyn Chiew, Director of City Design, City of Melbourne onto the panel as we discussed Arup’s ‘Tactical Urbanism‘ paper, examples from around the world and the Melbourne ‘ideas to outcomes’ we can champion.

We now have a great opportunity to learn from cities around the world that are implementing social distancing as part of economic recovery. Joanne said, ‘to do great tactical urbanism is to think in a slightly more innovative way,’ and there are six things we need to think about and get right to produce better outcomes for our community: engagement; design; making the case; approvals; delivery; and measurement. How does it work in practice?

Communities are looking for short-term, low-cost, scalable interventions that can catalyse long-term change. When thinking about this through the innovative lens, we explored the notion of a nurturing neighbourhood. The City of Port Phillip has placed value in tactical placemaking for many years. They don’t design spaces, but rather places for people to experience, and it’s those varying, purposeful positions that can evolve with the needs of the community that make a neighbourhood or city nurturing and attractive places to live, work and invest.

The City of Melbourne agreed and believes that a nurturing place is a place for everyone, all-inclusive of all abilities, ages and genders that creates opportunities for engagement, connection, development and growth. Tactical urbanism enables the ability to produce quick, in-place trial ideas for people to engage with, experience and think differently about what can be done in their places. The opportunities are there for the taking, whether it is reinvigorating the high street or creating new multi-use, open spaces that people are craving as a result of COVID-19, or addressing bigger issues like traffic congestion or air pollution.

This era will be known as much for the collective innovation of governments and civil society in the face of a crisis, as it will be for the extraordinary fortitude shown by all in the face of this common threat.

To explore exciting initiatives taking place globally and in Australasia and examples of tactical urbanism, please see the below links from the panel.

From the panel: 

  • Arup Inspire – a collection of emerging ideas and case studies from around the world available to the public until the end of the year
  • Love My Place – City of Port Phillip’s Placemaking website
  • 40km of new bike lanes – fast-tracking delivery in partnership with the Victorian Government
  • City of Melbourne Grey to Green program – a 30-year tactical project aimed at strategically repurposing underutilised areas of the city for new open space
  • Irregular football pitches – a fantastic global example of tactical urbanism
  • Greenline – a bold plan to link Melbourne’s green space

Watch the event here

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