Tactical Urbanism: Short-Term Actions for Long-Term Change

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“Tactical urbanism” is an approach to urban design and planning that tests ideas in the real world using low-cost, temporary improvements to the built environment and public realm. These projects vary greatly in scope and formality, ranging from pop-up parklets to pilot bus lines and temporary transformations of entire blocks. More than just short-term placemaking efforts, tactical urbanism projects have helped catalyze long-term change in communities across Massachusetts.

This workshop will provide a chance to learn directly from these communities. The workshop will also provide an overview of the topic, resources, and common challenges as we think together about the potential for public partnerships to empower community planning through tactical urbanism.

8:00 am Walking Tour: Everett Bus Lanes
8:45 am Doors open (breakfast refreshments)
9:00 am Welcome
9:05 am Presentation from an Industry Expert: What is Tactical Urbanism?
What is tactical urbanism? (What is the difference between tactical urbanism and placemaking?) What role can tactical urbanism play in testing conditions/ interventions? What funding sources can support these efforts in MA? How do we integrate what is learned from short-term, low cost efforts into larger scale interventions? (BAC)

9:45 am Project Case Studies (10 min pres, 5 min q+a)
- Everett Bus Lane
- Somerville, Davis Square
- TDI Better Block Events

10:30 am Coffee Break
10:35 am Panel: Public Partnerships for Grassroots Efforts
How does the traditionally grassroots field of tactical urbanism change when the public sector gets involved? How can the public sector best navigate and support the process while protecting public resources? (BAC/BSLA as moderator, panelists to include a mix of about 4 of the following: DOT lead for Everett; Andrew Howard from Better Block or Jonathan from Patronicity; someone from an active project Roslindale or PROVA!; someone from a community group Cambridge Park(ing) Day, East Boston Community Group, Gretchen Rabinkin, Ashland “Corner Spot” steering committee)
11:00 am Small Group Exercise: Identifying a critical path for a near term tactical effort
Goal 1: A small group from a mix of communities will work together to identify a critical path for a near term tactical effort in (at least) one of their communities.
Goal 2: This near term effort has the potential to inform or serve of proof of concept for a longer-term effort.
Goal 3: This exercise will also provide a “beta test” for the BAC Tactical Urbanism Guidebook, an opportunity for MassDevelopment and BAC to learn more about what makes content and tools most usable for local actors.
11:45 am Unconference: Using peers as resource (“buckets” may include: initiating a tactical urbanism project, selecting a focus area, navigating challenges within public sector process, community engagement and organizing)
12:30 pm Closing Remarks
12:35 pm Lunch

Everett, MA
Distance Learning
Course Equivalency
Urban Planning & Design
Health, Safety and Welfare
Learning Outcomes
By the end of the day, participants will be able to

1. describe 3-5 ideas for short term, "tactical" ways to improve the public realm of their communities
2. describe a process for developing tactical urbanism projects that promotes equity and inclusion, actively engaging both grassroots community members and local leadership
3. identify ways that tactical urbanism projects and strategies can be tools to support longer term neighborhood improvement efforts
Noah Koretz, TDI Deputy Director; Jay Monty, City of Everett; Ben Peterson, Boston Arch College; Gretchen Rabinkin, BSLA; Jonathan Berk, Patronicity
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Boston Society of Landscape Architects

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