10 Tactical Urbanism Projects for Community Engagement | askBAMLand

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Ready to see your neighborhood transform before your eyes?

Community engagement just got a makeover.

You've seen it: dead spaces buzz to life, pockets of green where there was concrete.

It's the magic of tactical urbanism, shaping cities overnight.

Ever wonder who's behind these changes?

You're not alone.

It’s a movement speaking directly to locals like us, empowering us to reinvent spaces with projects as unique as our imaginations.

Your block could be next, and we're here to show you how.

Key Takeaways

  • Tactical urbanism revitalizes communities with innovative, low-cost projects.
  • Local initiatives result in rapid, positive changes within urban spaces.
  • Citizen-led interventions encourage long-term improvements in neighborhoods.

Table of Contents

Better Block Project, Dallas, TX

Have you ever strolled through a neighborhood and thought, "Wow, this place could use a little love"?

That's exactly what sparked the Better Block Project in Dallas, TX.

Imagine turning that less-than-inviting block in your community into a vibrant, walkable district for a weekend.

That's the magic of Better Block.

Temporary bike lanes?


Pop-up shops?

You bet.

Public seating where you can sip a latte and catch up with friends?


The whole thing kicked off back in 2010, and since then, it's been a game-changer.

It's not just about making a single block look good for a couple of days; it's about showing what could be.

It's like a living blueprint - a glimpse into a future where community spaces are built for, well, the community!

Here's what it typically involves:

  • Bike Lanes: Road tape and planters to sketch out bike-friendly routes.
  • Pop-Up Businesses: Empty storefronts become lively shops or cafes.
  • Cafe Seating and Landscaping: Bringing nature and relaxation right to the sidewalk.

The project didn't just beautify a couple of blocks; it transformed them.

And the best part?

It started a whole movement, spreading the idea far beyond the Dallas city limits.

Believe it or not, communities everywhere from Melbourne, Australia, to your own backyard are rolling up their sleeves and saying, "Let's do this!"

So picture your own neighborhood.

Got a spot in mind that’s ripe for a makeover?

The Better Block Project is the perfect example of how a little community spirit (and a lot of elbow grease) can show the world the hidden potential of our everyday spaces.

Ready to roll out the café chairs?

Pavement to Parks, San Francisco, CA

Ever strolled through San Francisco and stumbled upon a tiny oasis right where a car would usually park?

That's the Pavement to Parks project for you!

Started in 2010, Pavement to Parks quickly spruced up the San Francisco streets by transforming underused asphalt into public plazas and green spaces.

Wondering how they do it?

It's simple: with some creativity, temporary materials like planters, and a bit of community magic, a parking spot blooms into a public park!

It's not only about adding benches and trees—it's about reimagining urban spaces together.

Here’s the scoop on this urban fairy tale:

  • Location: San Francisco, CA
  • Started: 2010
  • Goal: To create vibrant public spaces and improve pedestrian life

The city of San Francisco recognized a need for more community spaces and, voila, the Pavement to Parks program was born.

Collaborating with local residents, they've turned the streets into lively spots that benefit everyone.

Who knew a few tables, chairs, and a bit of greenery could so effortlessly charm a space?

Did you know this idea taps into an artist's vision from the 70s?

Bonnie Ora Sherk began with her installations, Portable Parks, voicing out against the dominance of cars.

Fun Fact: San Francisco has a population of around 0.8 million but the metro area expands to a whopping 4.5 million!

So, are you ready to grab your coffee and enjoy it at your neighborhood parklet?

Thanks to Pavement to Parks, your urban jungle just became a community gathering spot.

Now, who wouldn't love that upgrade?

People St, Los Angeles, CA

Ever dreamed of turning that plain street corner near your house into a lively plaza?

In Los Angeles, the People St program is making this a reality!

With 7,500 miles of city streets, L.A. residents have a blank canvas to transform neighborhoods through tactical urbanism.

What's in it for you?

Let's say you've got this great idea for a parklet or a plaza – People St is your go-to partner.

It's all about adding a spark of community spirit to those public spaces that have been just, well, spaces until now.

  • Parklets – They're like tiny oases of relaxation amidst the urban hustle. Fancy a spot to sip coffee and watch the world go by? Parklets are your answer!
  • Plazas – Think street fairs, art installations, or just a chill place to hang with friends. Plazas can be the heartbeat of any neighborhood.
  • Bike corrals – More bikes, fewer cars, right? These installations encourage cycling and support the eco-friendly move!

The best part?

You're the local expert of your 'hood.

You know what will get people chatting, laughing, and enjoying the outdoors.

People St hands you the tools to create these spaces through simple applications.

Don't worry; it's nothing too complicated.

Remember the People St Plaza in Leimert Park?

It became the cornerstone for how the community reclaimed space for the diaspora.

Picture that kind of transformation happening at your doorstep because you chose to get involved.

Don't just walk past that empty space; fill it with life!

And hey, while you're painting the town red (or green, or rainbow), you're also shaping a more connected, vibrant city.

Ready to give it a go?

Street Seats, Portland, OR

Have you ever imagined turning a bland curbside parking spot into a vibrant public hangout?

Well, that’s exactly what’s happening with the Street Seats program in Portland, Oregon.

Local businesses and the city have teamed up to swap tarmac for trendy seating areas that add a dash of charm to the city's sidewalks – and guess what?

You could be sipping your coffee there right now!

But wait, you might be wondering, "Isn't that just a gimmick?" Not at all!

These little urban oases are about so much more than looks.

First off, they're built with the community in mind, providing a public place to relax, meet friends, or just enjoy the outdoors.

And let’s not forget the boost they give to local cafes and eateries, bringing customers right to their doorsteps.

Here's a fun fact for you: the initial pop of Street Seats in Portland was a pilot program, much like the ones in San Francisco and New York.

The idea was to test the waters — literally reclaiming the streets — one parking space at a time.

And like magic, it was not just a hit, but a home run for community engagement.

Plus, these aren't your run-of-the-mill benches.

They're designed with a keen eye for accessibility, meeting ADA standards to ensure everyone's included.

So, whether you’re wheeling, walking, or anything in-between, you've got a spot at Street Seats.

Remember, every tiny patch of pavement turned into a cozy nook symbolizes a miniature win for urbanism – a tactical, yet tactile success story.

Sure beats finding a spot for your car, doesn't it?

So next time you're in Portland, why not take a seat and watch the world whiz by?

Your legs (and the local baristas) will thank you.

Midtown in Motion, New York, NY

Have you ever zoomed around Midtown Manhattan?

If you have, you know it's quite the experience, with cars and taxis everywhere!

But, get ready for this: The Big Apple did something awesome with something called Midtown in Motion.

Basically, they decided, "Let's mix things up!" They took 110 little blocks—in between 2nd to 6th Avenues and 42nd to 57th Streets—and started this super cool project.

It's all about making the streets work better, not just for cars but for everyone.

They added temporary bike lanes and pop-up pedestrian plazas.

Why pop-up plazas, you ask?

Because they showed everyone the benefits real quick, like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat.

Surprised pedestrians suddenly had space to walk, breathe, and not get lost in a sea of legs and shopping bags.

Plus, these temporary bike lanes?

Cyclists loved them!

They could pedal without playing dodgeball with the cars.

And guess what else?

Traffic flowed like syrup on pancakes, smooth and sweet.

And get this: they did it all in a densely packed part of the city.

Usually, cars crawl here like a toddler but not anymore.

This tactical urbanism thing isn't just talk; it's the real deal and Midtown in Motion proves it.

Isn't it amazing how some street cones and a bit of imagination can turn a crowded maze into a commuter's dream?

It's like a breath of fresh air, quite literally, for Manhattan's mid-section.

Next time you're there, take a stroll or a ride through; you'll see what I mean!

Better Market Street, San Francisco, CA

Have you ever strolled down Market Street in San Francisco?

If so, you might have noticed it's more than just a thoroughfare—it's a cultural hub!

And guess what?

It's getting a makeover that’s focused on—you guessed it—community and safety!

The basics?

We're talking about a 2.2-mile stretch from Steuart Street to Octavia Boulevard that's set for enhancement.

This isn't just any renovation; it's part of a broader initiative called the Better Market Street Project.

But this isn't a close-and-construct deal; they've employed tactical urbanism strategies to spruce the place up.

  • Wondering about the perks? Safety is key, with a goal to protect the 500,000 pedestrians and accomodate the 200 buses and thousands of cyclists who travel it daily.
  • Oh, and public spaces? They're slated for a dash of zest too!

Did someone say funding?

A cool $140 million is pooled from San Francisco’s half-cent transportation sales tax, SFMTA’s Prop A General Obligation bond, and a federal BUILD grant.

Looking for a direct line to be heard?

This project is all ears!

Phone in at +1 669 900 6833 or +1 253 215 8782, and don't forget to jot down the Meeting ID: 856 2795 7854.

Or shoot your thoughts over to [email protected].

Your voice has power here!

Maybe you want to sip coffee and people-watch or gear up and pedal through a safer, more invigorating route.

Either way, the Better Market Street is on its way to becoming your street for, well, better days!

And who doesn't love a good glow-up for their neighborhood streets?

Keep an eye out; urban magic is happening right here in San Francisco.

Tactical Urbanism Guidebook, Burlington, VT

Ever wondered how you could make your own little mark on the cityscape?

Well, Burlington, VT is cheering you on with a handy guidebook for just that!

Imagine seeing your brainchild—an impromptu patio, a pop-up cycle lane—come to life.

Sounds pretty exciting, doesn't it?

Burlington's own Tactical Urbanism Guidebook is like your best friend in the "let's change our streets" game.

Curious about what you'll find inside?

It's packed with examples of successful projects and, better yet, a step-by-step playbook for you to get cracking on your own urban interventions.

Here's the kicker: in 2015, the city got together with the bigwigs—fire department, police, local advocates—and crafted a policy that's all about getting you into the driver's seat.

Local Motion and others were in on it, ensuring this was a community effort from the get-go.

Want the scoop on the impact?

  • Population Served: About 42,417 folks living in Burlington.
  • Area Density: 4,115.76 people chilling per square mile.

But wait, there's more!

The guidebook doesn't just throw you in the deep end.

No, it walks you through planning and implementation as if you were learning to ride a bike with those comforting training wheels.

Whether you're a plotting planner or a spirited sprinter towards change, this guide is your golden ticket to transforming community spaces without getting lost in the maze of the usual red tape.

Feeling up for the challenge?

Your creativity could be the next big talk of the town.

Dare to dream, design, and deploy— and watch as Burlington transforms, one tactical urban project at a time!

City Repair Project, Portland, OR

Have you ever imagined turning the street corner you walk by every day into a flourishing community garden?

How about painting a massive street mural right at your intersection?

Sounds fun, right?

Well, that’s what folks are doing in Portland, Oregon, with the City Repair Project.

Twenty years in the making, this initiative is the Gandalf of transforming mundane urban corners into vibrant community spaces—seriously, it's like magic!

Here's the scoop: local residents, maybe just like you, pick up their paintbrushes, shovels, and wild ideas to make their neighbourhoods more, well, neighbourly.

They've got intersection paintings: think of it as a canvas where streets meet.

There are community gardens blooming with more than just flowers—they're sprouting friendships and fresh veggies.

Oh, and street furniture?

It's not your grandma's living room set out on the curb but rather quirky, comfy spots to sit and chat.

Let’s break it down:

  • Intersection Paintings: where asphalt turns to art.
  • Community Gardens: dig, plant, grow, repeat!
  • Street Furniture: rest your feet and meet someone sweet.

Plus, if you ever thought, "Ah, I could use a hand with my own project," these guys are your go-to.

They’re all about collaboration.

Drop them a line, and who knows?

Your next neighbourhood potluck might just be in the cool new community space you dreamed up.

Remember, big changes start with small seeds—or paintbrushes, in this case!

Open Streets, Various Cities

Have you ever imagined your bustling city streets free of cars, just for a day?

That's what the Open Streets movement does!

Imagine taking your morning jog down the center of Main Street or teaching your little one to ride a bike on a usually car-crowded avenue.

It’s happening in cities worldwide through the Open Streets initiative, a project that turns tarmac thoroughfares into public playgrounds, if only for a few hours.

Why Open Streets?

Well, aside from the fun of seeing your local streets in a new light, these programs encourage active transportation like walking or biking.

Plus, they're fantastic for getting to know your neighbors and local businesses a bit better without the rush of traffic.

  • In North America, experts at 8 80 Cities and Street Plans have been leading the pack, working in dozens of cities.
  • These events can also be a chance for civic engagement. For instance, in 2023, one municipality showcased infrastructure improvement plans during their Open Streets festival.

What's in it for you?

Beyond enjoying a sunny afternoon sans traffic, you're participating in a global movement.

You get a taste of what your city might feel like if it were designed for people, not just cars.

Don't worry about being overwhelmed; there are tools to guide cities through organizing these events.

Imagine a step-by-step manual that covers everything from gathering your core team to handling media coverage.

Got a local problem spot?

Open Streets can help there too.

Think temporary street humps and tests for new stop signs.

These events can serve as real-life experiments for lasting urban improvements.

Sure, it's not a permanent fix, but Open Streets gives us all a glimpse into a more walkable, breathable urban future.

So, why not grab your bike, your dog, or just your sneakers, and see what your city has to offer when the streets open up?

Park(ing) Day, Nationwide

Have you ever imagined your bustling city streets transforming into green, leafy parks—if only for a day?

Enter Park(ing) Day: that one magical day in September when metered parking spots don't just eat up your quarters—they sprout into mini-oases!

What started in 2005 by a San Francisco art and design studio has now swept across the nation, putting a playful spin on public spaces.

  • When? It's marked on the calendar for the third Friday of each September.
  • Who participates? Everyone from local businesses to community groups, and even individuals like you!

Park(ing) Day challenges us to rethink the way we use our paved parcels.

It's the day when parking spaces—often considered boring necessities—become the canvas for urban imagination.

Here's the kicker: these pop-up parks are not just for show.

They create a dialogue about urban planning and the community's needs.

Curious about the spread?

It's massive:

  • 2005: The first-ever Park(ing) Day sprung up.
  • Now: Celebrated in thousands of spots globally, not just the US!

Why is this brilliant?

It’s a clever reminder that even the smallest spaces have enormous potential.

By repurposing parking spots, we're nudged to ponder: Could this spot be more than just a temporary home for my car?

Think safer walkways, delectable outdoor dining, or vibrant community gardens—yes, please!

So, why not join in?

Grab some pals, pick a spot, and make it happen.

Transform a slice of pavement into a place where laughter rings out louder than car horns, even if it's just for a day.

Who knows?

Maybe that temporary park could inspire a lasting change right in your neighborhood!


Brittany Melling

Brittany Melling

Brittany has been in the land business since 2020 when the world was starting to shut down. Since then, we’ve sold to dozens of people from ATV weekend warriors to camping enthusiasts to retired truck drivers. Our inventory spans mostly in the western United States. We’ve been trained by experience, land acquisition courses, and hundreds of hours meeting with county assessors and clerks, zoning officials, realtors, and land investors. We’ve answered hundreds of questions from people regarding the buying and use of land.

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