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Cities are changing faster than city planners are able to keep up with. How can city residents be a part of encouraging more rapid, thoughtful change – and what are effective ways for them to participate?

A new movement called "tactical urbanism" provides a way for residents to experiment with pop-up parks, traffic calming, colorful signage and other temporary projects to change an urban area rapidly – but temporarily – so that communities can see how these ideas might work.

Mike Lydon of the Street Plans Collaborative, the leading figure in the tactical urbanism movement, will speak in Portsmouth June 1st at 6:30 PM at 3S Artspace (RSVP), part of PS21's series to stimulate discussion about policy and planning issues affecting Portsmouth.

Lydon's free community talk will focus on how tactical urbanism tools and experiments are helping residents improve neighborhoods in rapidly changing cities around the country, much like what is happening in Portsmouth.

His talk will spotlight a week-long West End project called "Islington Street Lab," which Lydon has been helping to facilitate with PS21 and the city this spring.

City governments tend to take a long time to change things because first they design, then they present to the public, then they spend a lot of money building something very permanent. Since many of the changes occurring in cities today are dynamic, that process can result in outdated designs, according to Lydon.

"That project area around Islington and Bartlett streets will be a community hands-on example of tactical urbanism. At Lydon's presentation on June 1st, attendees will see how tactical urbanism projects work and they'll hear about its colorful, sometimes subversive, history," said Doug Roberts, chair of the volunteer group Portsmouth Smart Growth for the 21st Century (PS21). " Later in the week, everyone can experience it themselves by walking, biking and driving through the Islington Street Lab project area in the West End."

PS21 events such as this are free and open to the public. Please register for June 1 at to help ensure sufficient seating.

(Note: Block Six, the restaurant at 3S, will be open prior to the event; receive a 10% discount that night when you mention PS21.)