By Steven Chester
A new, evolving trend is starting to sweep across our nation’s urban landscapes, including in our backyards here in Denver. Known by a multitude of names like guerrilla, tactical, ad-hoc, incremental, do-it-yourself, among others, this new form of urban intervention covers a wide range of projects from officially sanctioned bike corals in Portland, OR or a pop-up park in a parking lot in Miami, to bottom-up projects such as guerrilla pedestrian wayfinding and the transformation and activation of a vacant city blocks all across the country. At its most basic level, tactical urbanism is a hands-on approach to improving our urban neighborhoods and shared spaces. Tactical urbanism interventions create a laboratory for experimentation, where ideas can be tested, refined and shared. The power of the movement lies on the premise that small, temporary change has the potential to make a big, lasting difference.
Denver has proven to be a primed canvass for these do-it-yourself urbanists. As more and more urbanites flock to Denver, they are beginning to demand more from our city. More bike lanes, more active public places, more creativity, more spaces designed for people. Rather than waiting for authorities to transform their streets and neighborhoods, they are taking action. To capture and give a voice to the movement, a new website, TacticalUrbanismHere, has recently launched to catalog and map these interventions and show how small-scale change can have a big impact on Denver.
TacticalUrbanismHere.com allows Denver to capture its community driven efforts by utilizing CommonSights, a community mapping app that allows you and your neighbors to share what you or others are doing to improve Denver’s public spaces. Upload photos and videos, tag them on a map and create a catalog for change in Denver that is seen by all. Nothing is too big or too small to share. Interventions can be captured and shared with the click of a button from your mobile phone as your location is set via GPS or address-search. TacticalUrbanismHere.com is both a sight-seeing guide for the permanent and a way to memorialize the temporary here in Denver.
Steven Chester (@urbandenver) is a resident and City Planner in Denver. Steven’s professional focus is in transit-oriented development planning and implementation, along with innovative public outreach and data visualization. Steven has also worked with the TOD Group at RTD and was a Residential Green Building Consultant for Davis Energy Group in Davis, CA. Steven earned a Master in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Colorado Denver and a BA in Geography and Studio Art from Middlebury College. Steven is a co-collaborator with Michelle Pyle on the recently launched TacticalUrbanismHere.com, a map-based catalog of tactical urbanism in Denver. When not obsessing about walkable urbanism, Steven climbs up mountains and goes down them on wheels or skis.