Tactical Urbanism


6-1/2″ x 8-1/2″, softcover, 256 pages,
Island Press.

SKU: CTU001 Categories: ,


Short-term, community-based projects — from pop-up parks to open streets initiatives — have become a powerful and adaptable tool for downtown activists, planners, and policy-makers seeking to drive lasting improvements in their cities.

These quick, often low-cost, and creative projects are the essence of the tactical urbanism movement.

Whether creating vibrant plazas seemingly overnight or re-imagining parking spaces as neighborhood gathering places, they offer a way to gain public and government support for investing in permanent projects, and inspire residents and civic leaders to experience and shape urban spaces in a new way.

Tactical Urbanism, is written by Mike Lydon and Anthony Garcia, two founders of the movement. In this fully-illustrated book they provide:

  • A brief history of the tactical urbanism movement and its place among other social, political, and urban planning trends.
  • Detailed case studies, including guerilla wayfinding signs in Raleigh, NC, pavement transformed into parks in San Francisco, CA, a street art campaign leading to a new streetcar line in El Paso, TX, and more.
  • A detailed toolkit for conceiving, planning, and carrying out projects, including how to adapt them based on local needs and challenges.

Table of Contents


  1. Disturbing the Order of Things
    • What is tactical urbanism?
    • DIY urbanism versus tactical urbanism
    • Strategies versus tactics
    • How to reach more people and how more people can reach you
  2. Inspirations and Antecedents of Tactical Urbanism
    • Urban rituals in public spaces
    • Play streets
    • Mobile libraries
    • Food trucks
  3. The Next American City and the Rise of Tactical Urbanism
    • A renewed love affair with the city
    • The great recession and the new economy
    • Hacking the city
    • The challenge of getting things done
  4. Of Cities and Citizens: Five Tactical Urbanism Stories
    • Intersection repair
    • Gorilla Wayfinding
    • Build a Better Block
    • Parkmaking: Pop-up parks, parklets, parkmobiles
    • Pavement to plazas
  5. A Tactical Urbanism How-To
    • Understand who you are planning or designing for
    • Identify a site and articulate the root causes of the problem
    • Research and develop ways to address the problem
    • Plan a project response that may be carried out quickly and inexpensively
    • Use the build-measure-learn process to implement the project and gather feedback
  6. Go Out and Use This Book

About the Author

Mike Lydon is principal of The Street Plans Collaborative. Before launching the firm, Lydon worked for Smart Growth Vermont, the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition, and Ann Arbor’s GetDowntown Program.

Anthony Garcia is principal of The Street Plans Collaborative. Prior to launching the firm’s Miami office, Anthony was project director for six years at Chael Cooper & Associates Architects.

Author Presentation


Read the Preface


Tactical Urbanism is guaranteed. If you are not 100% satisfied, you may return it within 30 days for a full refund.


“This is a much-anticipated book, and the basic message is an important one: small-scale actions play an essential role in ensuring that cities… are responsive to genuine but unmet needs.”
— UrbanLand

“First book to really organize all the small fixes that seem to have spontaneously sprung up in so many communities in a way that everyone can understand … a great overview … Lydon and Garcia do an excellent job of defining what tactical urbanism is and isn’t, and the various forms it takes … thoughtful, informative book.”
— ASLA’s The Dirt

“With Tactical Urbanism, Lydon and Garcia offer expert insight and guidance into how to use this fundamental approach across a broad spectrum of cities and communities to enhance and revitalize city life.”
— Congress for the New Urbanism