Pop-up Infrastructure

Pilot infrastructure solutions, like traffic calming or bike lanes

Activity Type : Demonstrate & Evaluate
Participant Audience : Residents, Organizational Partners, Built Environment Professionals, Decision-Makers

"Pop-ups" are temporary installations that use easy-to-install props to demonstrate possible changes to a street, intersection, or public space. They are ways to show how the environment can influence activity and behavior. Through consultations with residents, and using the outcomes of the design workshop, identify an area of focus for your pop-up and select some temporary features to install (e.g. bike lanes, planters to calm traffic, urban design features, benches, pylons, and more). Depending on the scope of your pop-up and the materials you use, it could be set up for a few hours, days, or even weeks! See the resources section for sample pop-ups installed during our pilot projects.

What makes this tool valuable?

Sometimes, permanent changes in the built environment can be slow to enact. A pop-up infrastructure project is a great way to enact design solutions in a manner that is quicker, cheaper, and community-driven. Pop-ups can demonstrate how the safety and vibrancy of public spaces can be improved through residents’ design visions. Pop-ups are fun and they are also an excellent advocacy tool—demonstrating that an idea works is a wonderful way to gain support for your project!

Pop-up infrastructure like walkway structure, play area, and traffic cones to calm traffic
Tips & tricks
  1. It is wise to work with your municipality and other local partners on developing and implementing your pop-up. You want to ensure that you are increasing safety with a pop-up, not unintentionally creating an unsafe road condition.
  2. Record how people use the street or space before the pop-up, and measure how that use changes during the pop-up. 
  3. Take lots of photos!
  4. Consider surveying people on the pop-up site to see how they feel about the changes.