23.07.2020Arup | Tactical Urbanism

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.

Such innovation has taken many forms, and amongst the most immediate and impressive responses have been what has become known as ‘tactical urbanism’.

Although many of the kinds of initiatives and projects we are seeing under this heading originated before COVID -19 – from community activism, leading-edge local and national governments or progressive businesses – the crisis has dramatically accelerated their initiation, design and implementation and their embrace by decision-makers, opinion formers and indeed the wider community. The moment for tactical urbanism – of initiatives which provide, immediate and usually cost-effective but imaginative solutions to current urgent needs – has come.

In this document, Arup identify some of the most exciting initiatives taking place globally and in Australasia where we are seeing exemplars of tactical urbanism happening. We celebrate this leadership but also do two things: share our ideas about best practice and useful ways of taking innovative ideas into reality while also stressing the importance of linking the tactical and short-term with the strategic and long-term.  By showcasing the advantages and public benefits of tactical urbanism and by prototyping exemplary change quickly and indeed cheaply, we have a unique opportunity to change behaviours and attitudes so that such changes embraced now become transformative and embedded and are not undone as we emerge.

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