Taking Back the Streets: Streetfilms Explains Tactical Urbanism

Screen capture. Streetfilms

You've read the book; now watch the movie.

Tactical Urbanism has been defined as “the principle that citizens can undertake direct low-cost, high-reward actions that immediately improve some aspect of a community's public life and demonstrate to city leaders that there are opportunities for easy, successful changes to the status quo.” Mike Lydon and Anthony Garcia wrote the book on it; Janette Sadik-Kahn blurbed that “it shows how, with a little imagination and the resources at hand, cities can unlock the full potential of their streets."

Transform Your City With Tactical Urbanism from STREETFILMS on Vimeo.

But if they wrote the book, now Clarence Eckerson Jr. has made the movie, and for TreeHugger regulars, it includes some familiar names. There’s Doug Gordon of Brooklyn Spoke, who has been quoted on TreeHugger many times.


Jonathan Fertig/ how the modern flaneur dresses for walking/via

There’s Jonathan Fertig, who won my heart forever when he photoshopped vests onto Gustave Caillebotte’s painting of flaneurs in Paris in response to the post It's National Walking Day in America. Time to take back the streets.

©. Bikeyface with a message, photo by Jonathan Fertig

© Bikeyface with a message, photo by Jonathan Fertig

He is in the video for his work with Bekka Wright (AKA Bikeyface) to take back the streets of Boston.

Chris and Melissa Bruntlett

Lloyd Alter/ Chris and Melissa Bruntlett/CC BY 2.0

There’s Melissa Bruntlett, partner with Chris in Modacity. There is even a quick glimpse of Brent Toderian in Vancouver’s Robson Square.


© Matt Jelly

Tactical urbanists use the power of social media to move quickly, and often get in a bit of trouble with the authorities.

These groups are showing their fellow citizens innovative visual solutions to make safer streets with quick strike executions -- which sometimes only last a few hours until they are removed by their government. But each week more empowered people are deciding they are fed up and joining the movement and not waiting for their agencies to act.

But sometimes, those authorities see that the solutions work and it sometimes causes real change. It works. So take back the streets with tactical urbanism!