Practical Urbanism: Where Planning Meets Implementation

APA Colorado Chapter


Friday, October 6, 2017
9:20 a.m. - 10:20 a.m. MDT

CM | 1

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Little plans may not have the magic to stir men’s blood, but sometimes little actions do. All too often, there is disconnect between a planning process and successful implementation. We can all agree that we do not want to write a plan that “sits on a shelf”, right? What if we began to think about the planning process a little differently? Practical Urbanism is a call for action and a guide to mobilizing plan recommendations. 

Learning Objectives:

1. How to mobilize plan recommendations

2. What kinds of projects to consider for Practical Urbanism

3. How to engage clients to fully utilize existing resources


Introduction and The Typical Planning Process (5 minutes)

Client has a problem. Client hires consultant to write a plan. Consultant engages public and stakeholders. Consultant drafts plan with recommendations, timelines, and funding.

*This portion will be an introduction to how we might start to think about planning differently. There is often a gap between planning and implementation. Practical Urbanism is bridging the gap.

The Age of Testing (15 minutes)

Tactical Urbanism. DIY Urbanism. Guerilla Urbanism. Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper. It goes by many names, and it’s a GREAT concept! We should continue to use demonstration projects to test ideas and confirm concepts.

*Identify the pros and cons of the age of testing methods.

Five Principles of Practical Urbanism (10 minutes)

Introduce the five principles of practical urbanism – “P.L.A.C.E.”

Examples of Practical Urbanism (15 minutes)

Highlight projects across the country that exemplify Practical Urbanism. From small pocket parks and plazas to streetscape banners to façade renovations or activation of empty spaces – they are small projects that utilize existing resources and are based on a plan’s concepts, but they are mobilized during (or directly following) the planning process…and they are long-term solutions.

Practical Urbanism Toolkit (5 minutes)

Even though we plan for the future, we are rooted in the present. Sometimes our ideas go too far. There is an opportunity to scale back our visions to more realistic solutions. This section will include key takeaways for the audience to consider and put into their own practice.

Discussion (10 minutes)

CM Criteria

Practical Urbanism is a new concept for mobilizing plans into action sooner than a traditional process allows – it bridges the gap between planning and implementation. It is a thought process and strategy to take into consideration throughout the planning process. The goal is to get planners into the mindset of implementation at the onset of a project, rather than at the end.

Instead of planning and then implementing, Practical Urbanism proposes a seamless transition between the two by implementing a small, but meaningful project as soon as possible. Doing so will:

* demonstrate to citizens that the community is committed to realizing the plan’s success

* demonstrate to stakeholders how simple positive change can be

* get stakeholders excited about the plan and process

* provide momentum for implementing the rest of the plan

Practical Urbanism is useful for communities of all sizes. For smaller communities, they likely will not have the resources of a big city, but thoughtful implementation of plan concepts can be realized at any scale. The key is to immediately identify what a community’s existing resources are – sometimes even before a particular project is in mind. For example:

*Is there discretionary funding (CIP, general budget, TIF, other) that could be dedicated to implementing a plan goal immediately?

*What are some groups that the city could engage for assistance (Non-profits, BIDs, DDAs, RNOs, Chamber of Commerce, Arts community, etc.)?

*Discuss with city leadership to ensure their blessing and participation.

This presentation will debut a new concept for rethinking the planning process. It will motivate the audience, whether they are planners, designers, lawyers, or government officials.


Cheney Bostic, AICP

Confirmed Speaker

Cheney Bostic, AICP brings 12 years of experience in the fields of architecture, urban design, and planning. With an untraditional professional upbringing in this field, she offers a fresh perspective and new way of thinking. Cheney has worked on urban design projects of all scales throughout the United States, with ... Read More

Tim Stroh

Confirmed Speaker

Tim Stroh, AIA, is currently a Main Street Architect for the Colorado Main Street Program. He has been involved in the field of architecture throughout his career of both private practice and government sector work. Tim currently provides, through the provision of design services, education and technical assistance to both ... Read More

Contact Info

Shelia Booth,