The COVID-19 pandemic has radically altered daily life as we knew it from a few months ago. In a time when it is required to maintain physical distance and group gatherings are prohibited to protect public health, our streets and public spaces need to raise their level of performance. This is particularly true in Indian cities with high densities of people on urban streets. With restrictions on travel, eating out & commercial activities and some workplaces opting to continue the work from home situation, the moment is now to reallocate street right-of-ways (RoWs) with more priority for walking and cycling.
Reimagining our street sections will help people regain the confidence to safely move around and get back
to a level of normalcy. More than anything, it is an opportunity to not return to unsustainable ways and set the foundation for a future that is inclusive, equitable and livable.
The first step towards redistributing our street RoWs is to engage in a trial run of what this new street section could look like through a tactical urbanism approach which is low-cost and easy to install. This allows an opportunity for all the stakeholders - the city and its residents - to get accustomed to the new street RoW configuration before it can transition into a permanent intervention that is endorsed by everyone for its efficiency and livability.
The purpose of this guidebook is therefore to decode the various aspects of Tactical Urbanism – an emerging city-shaping approach in Indian cities. This guidebook has been calibrated to adapt to a vast range of local contexts and is relevant to citizens, experts and urban local bodies alike. It draws on learnings from several case studies from Indian cities over the past five years to explore five thematic intervention areas to effect change in our streets and public spaces.