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Tactical Urbanism (Small Actions for Big Changes in Cities)


IZUMIYAMA Rui, TAMURA Koichiro, YANO Takumi, NISHIDA Osamu, YAMAZAKI Takahiro, sotonoba (editors and authors)


256 pages, A5 format




June 15, 2021



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Tactical Urbanism

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Tactical urbanism refers to an “approach to forming communities using short-term, low-cost, yet scalable projects that ‘intentionally’ catalyze long-term changes.” Large, long-term investments (5 years to 50 years) in an urban space are typically preceded by gradual steps, beginning with short-term events (1 day to 1 month), and then moving on to experiments (1 month to 1 year) and provisions designs (1 year to 5 years). Specific examples include the following: development from a “Park (ing) Day” to the provisional installation of a “Parklet,” and finally a program for permanent installation; programs for opening street spaces; initiatives for improving intersections by painting pavements and widening simple sidewalks; development from the provisional use of a vacant lot to a plaza; and the gradual process of widening sidewalks and bicycle lanes. Each of these are small initiatives for making substantial changes in cities. This book offers examples, backgrounds, and methods of such initiatives in an easy-to-understand manner.
In contrast to tactical urbanism, which implements small actions in urban areas, urban planning envisions an entire city and comprehensively establishes a plan for regulations and guidance on land, buildings, and traffic, as well as public or public-private partnership projects to achieve this vision. In recent years, this traditional approach of outlining such visions, formulating plans, and developing regulations, guidance, and projects to achieving such views are not sustaining the speed and size at which the various actions operate in an urban space, and many of these visions and plans are never fully realized. Furthermore, the various standards and procedures associated with the regulations, guidance, and projects, as well as the prioritization of the various demands themselves are in line with modern needs. Tactical urbanism has the potential to revitalize the closed field of urban planning.
The editors of this book are researchers and practitioners who have led the tactical urbanism movement in Japan and established the media platform “Sotonoba” (https://sotonoba.place/) in 2014 with the objective of transforming the outdoor spaces of the city into places where people can live. The sharing of knowledge that has been obtained through initiatives in various locations, both in Japan and overseas, has played a leading role in tactical urbanism, which is characterized by small actions according to the unique circumstances of each site. In addition to the information group that is constantly updated and improved in the web-based “Sotonoba,” this book systematically organizes such information, and it is expected to advance the concepts of tactical urbanism. This book is highly aware of its role in this movement, and it has the power to recall and drive various actions.

(Written by MURAYAMA Akito, NAKAJIMA Naoto, Associate Professor, School of Engineering / 2022)

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