If you have not heard of tactical urbanism, you may be missing one of the latest urban trends.
Tactical urbanism refers to low-cost, temporary changes to the built environment, usually in cities, intended to improve local neighbourhoods and city gathering places. Tactical urbanism may also be referred to as guerilla urbanism, pop-up urbanism or D.I.Y. urbanism.
Place Partners in Sydney is a strong advocate of interventions that create better places for people and recently held a workshop to look at tactical urbanism opportunities in one of Australia’s best known urban streets: Oxford Street, Sydney (home of the Sydney Mardi Gras).
Bringing the Rainbow Up Oxford Street
With Mardi Gras approaching, it seemed like a great time to bring back the much loved Rainbow Crossing to Oxford Street – but this time, in a much safer way!
The proposal was to colour a chalk rainbow on the black asphalt between South Dowling Street and the Verona Cinema on the City of Sydney side (we did not want to install on expensive bluestone that would put the Council offside). This was a great way to test a response – if it was well liked by the public, we may be in a better position to lobby for a more permanent installation. The project draws on the goodwill associated with Mardi Gras and would hopefully pull some people a little further up Oxford Street than they would otherwise go for a great photo opportunity, in a space of relatively low-patronage.
UPDATE: This project has been completed and was up for one week before the Council removed it after Mardi Gras. The photos and a summary have been sent to the City of Sydney to suggest a permanent installation (with paint) nearby. Please contact Chris at email@example.com if you have any other ideas for projects elsewhere on Oxford St.
Shopfront Art Gallery
The Shopfront Art Gallery will be utilising shop windows to place some great artworks in otherwise overlooked spaces along Oxford Street. The project will collaborate with UNSW Art and Design to take care of insurance, liability, selecting the students/artist, hosting the website and the potential to sell work. The second step will be site assessment and contacting owners, including spaces such as the old box office at Verona, or the empty shop at Willow. Then… installation!
Manpower required: Some really great artists to put their hands up as well as people to help out with install. Three people on the team currently.
Timeline: Aiming to have talked to UNSW Art and Design and decided on formalities/project set up within one week. Aiming for at least 4 installations done within one month.
Contact: Please email Nam at firstname.lastname@example.org ASAP to offer your time.
Oxford Street Story Telling
What would happen if Oxford Street had a voice? Rather than growling ‘For Lease’ or ‘Stop’, what if the street suddenly serenaded us with positive messages or inspiring quotes from literature, film and fashion? The aim of this project is to activate rundown walls and under used spaces on Oxford Street through the use of poetic, thought provoking, attention grabbing words. These will be applied to selected areas as pasteups.
Manpower required: We need people to help come up with the quotes, design, any of the graphics and help choose the location of installations. Any help would be appreciated! So far there are 5 people on the team.
Timeline: Aiming for minimum 4 installs within one month, hoping for 8. Send through your ideas to get this project moving immediately!
Contact: Please email Ariella at email@example.com ASAP to offer your time.
If you are interested in being involved in any of these Sydney-based projects, please contact the people above, or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have an idea for another project.
We look forward to hearing more about the latest tactical urbanism installations in Sydney and elsewhere.