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Tactical Urbanism and Sustainability: Tactical Experiences in the Promotion of Active Transportation

Authors: Aline Fernandes Barata, Adriana Sansão Fontes


The overvaluation of the use of automobile has detrimentally affected the importance of pedestrians within the city and consequently its public spaces. As a way of treating contemporary urban paradigms, Tactical Urbanism aims to recover and activate spaces through fast and easily-applied actions that demonstrate the possibility of large-scale and long-term changes in cities. Tactical interventions have represented an important practice of redefining public spaces and urban mobility. The concept of Active Transportation coheres with the idea of sustainable urban mobility, characterizing the means of transportation through human propulsion, such as walking and cycling. This paper aims to debate the potential of Tactical Urbanism in promoting Active Transportation by revealing opportunities of transformation in the urban space of contemporary cities through initiatives that promote the protection and valorization of the presence of pedestrians and cyclists in cities, and that subvert the importance of motorized vehicles. In this paper, we present the character of these actions in two different ways: when they are used as tests for permanent interventions and when they have pre-defined start and end periods. Using recent initiatives to illustrate, we aim to discuss the role of small-scale actions in promoting and incentivizing a more active, healthy, sustainable and responsive urban way of life, presenting how some of them have developed through public policies. For that, we will present some examples of tactical actions that illustrate the encouragement of Active Transportation and trials to balance the urban opportunities for pedestrians and cyclists. These include temporary closure of streets, the creation of new alternatives and more comfortable areas for walking and cycling, and the subversion of uses in public spaces where the usage of cars are predominant.

Keywords: Tactical urbanism, active transportation, sustainable mobility, non-motorized means.

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