Reading a great book called "Tactical Urbanism". Simply put, it is a way to change your neighborhood into a more liveable one by enacting short-term, low-cost and immediate changes on a trial basis which could translate into permanent infrastructure when there is public buy-in. Let me explain by a simple example. Times Square in New York City was a very different place before May of 2009. It was not a place where you would want to hang out.
Virtually overnight, thanks to a progessive mayor Michael Bloomberg and transportation minister Janette Sadik-Khan
(see the video) on the Memorial Day weekend of 2009, Times Square changed from a car-clogged traffic jam nightmare to a beautiful pedestrian square where the people came to shop, to dine, to linger, and to spend. The businesses boomed and there was no turning back. All that was done was the closing of a street, the addition of paint, and some patio furniture!
For another example that predates Times Square, we take a trip to Holland to see a "Woonerf", which is Dutch for "living yard". Woonerfs were developed by citizens decades ago when they were frustrated with increasing traffic in their residential neighborhoods. On a woonerf, priority is given to people who are not in cars although the road is not closed to cars. Physical barriers are in place so cars are forced to travel not much faster than walking speed. In 1976, the Dutch government passed a law to incorporate the woonerf into national street design standards. They are now gaining popularity throughout the rest of Europe and in North America,
Other examples of tactical urbanism are guerilla gardening
(this photo shows a pothole garden), pavement to parks or parklets (a teeny park ranges from several inches to several feet), pop-up parks, and pop-up activities like yoga, music or art in somewhere like a parking space such as international Park(ing) day
Tactical Urbanism works for government, for developers, and for citizens because it's a way to showcase demonstration projects. Best practices can be put into place quickly as temporary measures. The vision can be seen in 3-D, not just as an engineer's drawing. This is a much more effective way to garner public support. It will silence the "no-way" vocal minority who are in opposition to any change and the elected officials who want to play it safe by public surveys with their low rate of participation and long-range plans that never come to fruition. Tactical Urbanism is quick and it works! Its for people who want to DO, not just talk about doing! So please join Vernon's first Park(ing) day on Friday, Sept. 16, sponsored by the Downtown Vernon Association and try your hand at your very own, sanctioned tactical urbanism. Can't wait to see your Park(ing) space. What fun!
Kerry is happiest when she's out of her car and on her bicycle. As a community physiotherapist, she'd love to see more people of all ages engaging in an active lifestyle by walking and bicycling to where they need to go!
Bruce keeps active by walking and running in the Vernon area. When not on foot you can often see him on bicycle, with his trailer, shopping locally or taking his recycling to the depot. Bruce has also been a CAN-BIKE bicycling skills instructor for over 20 years. See www.gonecycling.com