Plus a look back at some of our favorite recent tactical urbanism installations.

In response to last week's story on the curious art or urban wayfinding, reader Andy Little pointed us to some cool guerrilla wayfinding going on in Raleigh, North Carolina. This is understandably a concept you may be even less familiar with (relative to non-guerrilla wayfinding, that is). We're not sure anyone else out there is doing this – mounting walkable direction signs around town, under cover of darkness.

In mid-January, a group calling themselves Walk Raleigh posted 27 such signs at three intersections around the city, and we hear (by reading their Facebook page), that the stunt has actually caught the eye of city officials who may look to make the signs permanent. This is tactical urbanism at its best: a fly-by-night citizen-led escapade whose whimsy could ultimately prompt real improvements to city amenities. So, kudos to these brave urban guerrillas (whom we assume traveled by foot in between installations):

... and the wayfinding they've left behind:

This got us thinking about some of our other favorite tactical urbanism capers: yarn bombing, chair bombing – and guerrilla gardening, of course. So we offer this collection of playful, very small-scale urban projects to give you something truly productive to ponder at the beginning of another work week:

Flickr/jorgevr

That's a guerrilla garden, in a used tire, taken last year. Below is a little guerrilla gardening from the folks at Occupy Oakland:

Flickr/@bastique

Italy apparently has a Guerrilla Gardening Day, from which this beautiful image comes, last November:

Flickr/OggiScienza

In an entirely different medium, we have several guerrillas working in textile. This image, from the summer of 2009, comes from a project that transformed 69 parking meters on Montague Street in Brooklyn as part of the business improvement district there.

Flickr/nycstreets

This one, we suspect, was more of an outlier, from Sacramento, California:

Flickr/Robert Couse-Baker

In the realm of more practical amenities, we have an impromptu bus stop chair from Orlando, tactically placed in 2010:

Flickr/strfsh

Which brings us to the ultimate urban transportation makeover, pop-up parks in parking spots, courtesy of the annual Park(ing) Day. These images present two different approaches to the micro-park – for the active, and the loafer – both from Oakland:

Flickr/Greenbelt Alliance

Neighborhoods need a lot of other things – grocery stores, community centers, political capital – that are harder to throw together overnight. But there's tactical urbanism for those ambitions, too. We leave you with these images from the "I wish this was..." project that started more than a year ago in New Orleans:

iwishthiswas.cc

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A photo of Andrew Field, the owner of Rockaway Taco, looking out from his store in the Rockaway Beach neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York.
    Life

    Tacos and Transit: Rate Your City

    From taco-rich San Diego to the tortilla wastelands of Boston, we asked you to grade U.S. cities on two critical metrics: Mexican food and public transportation.

  2. A photo of shoppers in the central textile market of downtown Jakarta.
    Design

    How Cities Design Themselves

    Urban planner Alain Bertaud’s new book, Order Without Design, argues that cities are really shaped by market forces, not visionaries.

  3. The Metropolitan Opera House in New York
    Equity

    How Urban Core Amenities Drive Gentrification and Increase Inequality

    A new study finds that as the rich move back to superstar cities' urban cores to gain access to unique amenities they drive low-income people out.

  4. A pupil works on a cardboard architectural model at a Hong Kong primary school.
    Design

    The Case for Architecture Classes in Schools

    Through the organization Architecture for Children, Hong Kong architect Vicky Chan has taught urban design and planning to thousands of kids. Here’s why.

  5. Apple's planned new campus in Austin, Texas.
    Life

    Why Apple Bet on Austin’s Suburbs for Its Next Big Expansion

    By adding thousands more jobs outside the Texas capital, Apple has followed a tech expansion playbook that may just exacerbate economic inequality.