COMMUNICATING CHANGE WITH DESIGN AND COLOR
Tactical Urbanism stands for setting lasting stimuli with experimental spatial interventions. In this form of planning, experimental spatial interventions are permitted by the city and civil society alike in order to find lasting solutions to planning tasks through action, i.e. the temporary approval of spontaneous rededications. Temporary bike lanes, traffic calming, colorful crosswalks, the transformation of parking lots into pop-up parks - these and other activities, or the techniques and strategies used for their implementation, are what Tactical Urbanism is all about. It is a citizen-centered and immediate planning tool for contentious spatial issues and people-centered urban development.
© Florian Wiegand
Creative designs of interior design and visual communication play a central role here. Transformation processes and new spatial configurations are conveyed via positive stimuli of color, furnishing and greening; a desire for the future is generated through personal initiative and identification via design. Barcelona's Superblocks or Milan's Piazze Aperte are inevitably associated with colorful designs and creative furnishings - the yellow triangular patterns of the Superblocks have become a graphic symbol for reclaiming street space.
In Frankfurt am Main, the collective TAB e.V. provides transformative design and new perceptions of places with large-scale colorful staging of urban and especially street spaces.
Sports tournaments - here streetball - were invigorating events of the "Summer on the Main"; the playing fields were integrated into the design. © Florian Wiegand
The collective emerged in 2015 from an initiative of creatives, restaurateurs and committed people with the aim of helping the Bahnhofsviertel in Frankfurt to achieve a new image. In the meantime, the members are active in various places, wherever a creative impulse should help to create a new understanding of space. The core is formed by the restaurateur James Ardinast, initiator of the IMA Clique, Amin Baghi, agency head of esistfreitag, and the artist-manager Florian Joeckel, initiator of the guilty 76 Street Guerilla - whose actions attentive Tour de France observers should already have encountered. Joeckel has also created an informal meeting place in Frankfurt am Main with the temporary use of a former print shop, the Massif Central, which is home to studios and a racing bike bar and offers space for events, markets and spontaneous ideas.
With the "Summer on the Main," the city of Frankfurt conducted an experiment conceived as a citizen-oriented urban space festival, in which the Main quay was closed to vehicular traffic for eight weeks and programmed. In addition to sports events and dance performances, participatory transformational questions of Frankfurt's future urban development were also addressed in workshops. The political goal of the permanent closure and rededication of the inner-city waterfront road was to be brought home to the citizens.
Students were also involved in the design of the roadway. © Cornelius Pfannkuch
At the beginning, students painted the street space to the Urban Sports Park, according to the design of Desres Design Studios and together with the initiators of TAB e.V. and STABIL e.V. as well as Guilty76 Street Guerilla and Massif Central. These had approached the city in advance with the idea and the offer to support and finance such an action. Chess boards, soccer and streetball courts were integrated into the design of the resulting 300-meter-long street art piece, as well as the Eintracht Frankfurt logo, as a tribute to the Europa League victory and the frenetic atmosphere in the city in May 2022. From now on, the colorful urban space was an activating place for sports, games and cultural experiences, and of course: Instagram motif. Even the SGE coach Oliver Glasner used this for a selfie - this is how such actions achieve further multiplication for reach and acceptance. The implementation of this street art project, which challenges global benchmarks such as Santiago or New York in terms of dimension and design, was supported operationally by PROPROJEKT.
© Cornelius Pfannkuch
Now that the cars are rolling again and the fading paint is wearing off, rationality is returning to the résumé and the evaluation; thus, voices from Sachsenhausen on the left bank of the Main River - over whose streets a good part of the car traffic was diverted - are raising their voices, complaining about the additional load on the streets. Empirically based findings are still lacking, however. Even if the noticeable revitalization of the space closed to cars was related to the actions in each case, the effect of the design as an image-generating component is not tied solely to the time and place of the action, but generates a lasting effect in the social media, in city magazines, newspapers, and even trade magazines for the desire for active urban design. Color and design play an effective communication role in Tactical Urbanism interventions in the redesign of formerly monofunctional traffic areas, in the activating staging of space, in the acceptance-generating effect of motifs, and in the identity-creating impulses through personal co-design.