As an architect and urban planner, I have been immersed in designing communities for nearly 40 years. The designs have been based on the principles of New Urbanism. That well-established strategy focuses on designing walkable neighborhoods that feature lively public spaces and buildings with mixed uses, while supporting policies on a national level to make those vibrant urban communities part of everyday life.
On the other end of the spectrum is Tactical Urbanism, a nascent movement that seeks to create change through impromptu interventions in public space, such as pop-up parks. These efforts often focus on the short term.
Between the two is another model, Lean Urbanism, which focuses on revitalizing cities by finding ways for people to participate in community-building—specifically, by enabling everyday people to get things done. Knight Foundation’s support for the Project for Lean Urbanism will help us create tools and techniques over the next three years to make it easier for people to engage in shaping their own communities.