& Co. [VIDEO] featuring Mike Lydon re: public places, streets and COVID-19


Joining & Co. in week three is Mike Lydon from Street Plans. For more than a decade, Mike has been one of the key leaders of the Tactical Urbanism movement globally. His work is now being formalized in cities across the country as the COVID-19 pandemic creates a need for more space for people and less for cars. Streets, alleys, parking lots and plazas are being reimagined quickly and creatively as the warm weather season approaches. We spoke with Mike about everything from Open Streets to how this work might create a new generation of elected officials. Below are five takeaways from the discussion.


As spatial distancing continues throughout the summer and fall it will be important to double down on what’s working and learn from mistakes. This iterative process of building and unbuilding should be documented and packaged in an effort to ensure some (or all) of this can be made permanent as we slowly transition back to “normal.”


This is not just a choice between opening or closing streets for people. All streets, districts, neighborhoods and places were at different stages of growth when the virus hit and that is still true today. Varying market demands and diversity of uses, customers, physical characteristics and needs have to be understood and designed for when it comes to tactical interventions.


With the warm weather season upon us and more and more citizens eager to get outdoors the appetite for a long walk, run or bicycle ride is as high as ever. As Cities plan Open and Slow Street interventions they should be considering this fact and strategically selecting up to three mile long connector corridors to open up for people. These connectors often connect multiple commercial districts with one another, providing multiple destinations along a long stroll through your city.


It is not uncommon for districts, neighborhoods and entire regions to have Vision Plans collecting dust on a shelf. Most of these plans call for more walkable districts, new transit lines and climate change mitigation. With all of the changes to mobility and retail resulting from this crisis, an era of plan implementation and testing is here.


As residents and business owners alike see in real time the positive impact of embracing the outdoors, expanded public space and non-car mobility it is likely that a new cohort of leadership will emerge to fight for permanent changes. This could be one of the most important and longest lasting changes following the pandemic as a diversity among our elected officials has been needed for some time.

Register for the next & Co. discussion here.  

In partnership with Soapbox Cincinnati and NKY thrives, Yard & Company, launched video podcast series, & Co., focused on solutions, ideas and interventions related to the COVID-19’s impact on cities. Please share.
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