Support Us Button Widget

Tactical urbanism: What is it and where can you find it in Nashville?

The city’s latest tactical urbanism project has us digging into where you can find this concept around Music City.


Nashvillians working on the Dickerson Pike installation last week. | Photo via NDOT

If you’ve commuted on Dickerson Pike in the last day, you’ve likely seen Nashville’s largest-ever tactical urbanism installation near Queen and Grizzard avenues.

The project’s defining feature is a ground mural, but there’s more than meets the eye. Keep reading for tactical urbanism 101 and where you can find it in the 615.

What is it exactly?

These community-driven projects are often temporary, low-cost, and scalable initiatives aimed at improving public spaces. Think: parklets, open streets, pop-up parks, and even Little Free Libraries.

Nashville’s Civic Design Center introduced tactical urbanism to the city in 2012 with the community’s first Park(ing) Day. Since then, parking spaces in Nashville transform into mini public parks for one day in September. This year’s event is expected to look different — but more on that below.

Where can you find it?

The new Dickerson Pike installation is the latest effort in making this corridor safer for pedestrians. The collaborative project is expected to remain in place for a year and support a Complete Streets study for safety and walkability improvements.

Other local examples of tactical urbanism include parklets, green roofs, and sidewalk dining.


One of the parklets from Park(ing) Day 2022. | Photo by NASHtoday

What’s next?

Back to parklets, it’s possible we’ll see more of these community spaces in Nashville permanently. With NDOT now overseeing parklet and tactical urbanism permits, the Civic Design Center is putting them into action with this year’s Park(ing) Day.

The organization is collaborating with East Nashville’s Wilburn Street Tavern to host the city’s first official parklet under the new permitting process — and you can help design it if you act fast. Design submissions will be accepted through Friday, Aug. 11.

Stay tuned for a Park(ing) Day Block Party and Parklet Ribbon Cutting on Sunday, Sept. 17.