ioby was very happy to participate at CNU 21 in Salt Lake City this May. In addition, to running a pop-up idea café (that also provided new urbanists with much needed caffeine), we were part of an innovative 202 on tactical urbanism with Mike Lydon, principal at StreetPlans, Tommy Pacello with the Memphis Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team, Ian Wolfe Ross, City Design Collective, and Jason Roberts, founder of the Better Block.
Tactical Urbanism, similar to Lighter Quicker Cheaper, is a concept that hits to the core of ioby’s work. Small-scale or short-term demonstration projects can be implemented quickly, or temporarily, on a small budget, but work to transform the community’s understanding of public space.
An example is the 78th Street Play Street, that, using a Department of Transportation Play Street permit was temporarily opened for play and closed to car traffic three summers in row, and is now designated a permanent playground.
Easy wins are an important way to ensure participation in what can often be a slow and grueling public process. Moreover, small-scale projects remind residents that they have the ability to make change in their communities, a key part of civic engagement.
And in fact, the scale of ioby projects is often small. Projects are either short-term demonstrations or small-scale neighborhood projects (see above section on tactical urbanism). While some may be quick to dismiss small projects, we believe small projects play an important role. They provide an opportunity for quick results and easy feel good wins, which are incredibly important for a community that is fatigued with a legacy of hopelessness and skepticism, as is exactly the case in Miami, or Detroit, or possibly your home town.
In addition, because with ioby people contribute relatively small donations and volunteer for just a few hours, there is a feeling that change can happen, without herculean effort. An important reminder for all of us changemakers out there.