Emily Badger is a former staff writer at CityLab. Her work has previously appeared in Pacific Standard, GOOD, The Christian Science Monitor, and The New York Times. She lives in the Washington, D.C. area.
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:
That's a guerrilla garden, in a used tire, taken last year. Below is a little guerrilla gardening from the folks at Occupy Oakland:
Italy apparently has a Guerrilla Gardening Day, from which this beautiful image comes, last November:
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.
This one, we suspect, was more of an outlier, from Sacramento, California:
In the realm of more practical amenities, we have an impromptu bus stop chair from Orlando, tactically placed in 2010:
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:
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: