February 16, 2022

Insight Session: Planning by doing - Tactical Urbanism during the COVID-19 pandemic


Have you ever heard about tactical urbanism? Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, cities are facing enormous challenges that had to be answered with quick planning solutions.  Nevertheless, this also entails new opportunities for a different perception of public urban space. The pandemic highlights the importance of accessible green space in our dense city structures and tactical urbanism can be a creative tool to revitalize public spaces.

Due to the number of people working from home, the use of public transport and traffic volume decreased – yet therefore creating possibilities to test new models. For example, many cities set up temporary low-budget solutions such as pop-up bike lanes, turned pavement into plazas and used better block initiatives to adapt urban space to the new requirements. These practices of minimal cost and time are referred to as tactical urbanism. Other commonly used terms are guerrilla urbanism, pop-up urbanism, do-it-yourself urbanism– all of them having in common that they are short-term actions for long-term change.


“Tactical Urbanism is used by a range of actors, including governments, business and nonprofits, citizen groups, and individuals. It makes use of open and iterative development processes, the efficient use of resources, and the creative potential unleashed by social interaction. It is what Professor Nabeel Hamdi calls making plans without the usual preponderance of planning.”

― Mike Lydon, co-author of the book Tactical Urbanism


Together we will explore tactical urbanism as experimental low-budget approach of urban planning. How can municipalities benefit from tactical urbanism? How does the approach help to create new solutions for urban problems? These questions will be discussed with following confirmed speakers:

Rajeev Malagi, Program Manager Urban Development, WRI India Ross Center for Sustainable Cities

Ariadna Miquel, Director of Urban Strategy Services, City Council of Barcelona, Spain

Aswathy Dilip, South Asia Director, Institute for Transportation & Development Policy