The freedom to make and remake our cities and ourselves is … one of the most precious yet most neglected of our human rights.
Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?
—Henry David Thoreau
Tactical Urbanism (hereafter TU) is the term that Mike Lydon and Anthony Garcia, principals of the Miami- and Brooklyn-based Street Plans Collaborative, use to describe an innovative and effective method of urban improvement. In their new book Tactical Urbanism: Short-term Action for Long-term Change (Washington, DC: Island Press, 2015) they describe a sometimes rogue approach to “complete streets” advocacy and design—sometimes called “action planning” or “planning by doing”— that emerged out of frustration with broken regimes of civic administration. In the preface to this remarkably readable and well-illustrated volume Garcia recalls his efforts, as editor of the early blog Transit Miami, to support the progressive Miami 21 zoning code in 2006-2009. The revised code, which aimed to overturn an archaic and fatal system of segregating the urban fabric according to rigidly-defined land-use categories (commercial, residential, institutional, industrial) was ultimately implemented to wide acclaim. But as Garcia explains, the process of approving these sensible revisions was excruciatingly time-and-resource intensive. He recalls that Continue reading