Diane Deans and Tactical Urbanism

It may have just been a passing comment, but Diane Deans scored some points with me at a committee meeting. In the discussion about the patio project on Elgin Street, this occurred:

You may not be familiar with the term “tactical urbanism”. Here’s a pretty good definition:

…a collection of low-cost, temporary changes to the built environment, usually in cities, intended to improve local neighbourhoods and city gathering places. Tactical Urbanism is also commonly referred to as guerilla urbanism, pop-up urbanism, city repair, or D.I.Y. urbanism.

It really is a wonderful idea. It’s an easy way to spruce up our city streets (like the Glebe BIA is doing by putting out flower boxes for the Tulip Festival), and to adapt them to changing needs, events and seasons.

And I’ll admit; I was a bit surprised to hear this comment from Deans. It’s not the usual sort of comment we hear coming from our suburban councillors (and not always from our urban councillors, either). I hate to fall prey to the stereotypical thinking of the the urban-suburban divide, but with so many of our city debates breaking along those lines, it’s very difficult to avoid such a reaction.

So good for Diane Deans. Not only for having a good observation and promoting a progressive vision for the city, but for also breaking the mold of or urban-suburban culture wars.