The success of tactical urbanism responses to COVID-19 depends on multidisciplinary, collaborative teams of dedicated individuals and organisations working together with a shared purpose.
Your project team should be multidisciplinary and able to work collaboratively. Together team members should possess a range of professional skills and personal attributes and clearly understand their roles and responsibilities on the project.
The following core team roles should be common to any Innovating Streets project, but responses to COVID-19 should require slightly different responsibilities and approaches as described below:
- Project lead – a single point of contact for the project throughout the planning, delivery and measurement phases. Has a clear understanding of the problem being addressed and how to determine, and evidence, whether the response has been successful.
- An internal champion – executive or political support to empower the team to be innovative, push against ‘business-as-usual’ where needed, and be a face and voice for the project when needed.
- Design/place-making lead – a suitably qualified specialist who understands how to design spaces, streets and urban environments for people.
- A community champion – an active community member with extensive networks, especially someone who is known, respected and trusted in the local community. The restrictions in place under Level 3 and 2 of the COVID-19 Alert System may mean that, in some areas, community networks and the role of community champions may have changed. The speed at which COVID-19 responses need to be deployed and assessed also requires communication to flow between Councils and the community very quickly. Bringing community champions into the project early on allows planning for this.
- A temporary traffic management planner – a suitably qualified and experienced specialist who can apply best practice temporary traffic management knowledge, meet health and safety requirements and understands the impacts of temporary traffic, cyclist and pedestrian treatments on affected transport networks. COVID-19 responses are intended to address immediate public health and safety needs in unfamiliar and emergent contexts. The project's Temporary Traffic Management Planner(s) should also be engaged to assess the response as soon as it is made to ensure any temporary traffic management plan (TMP) it is fit for purpose and has not inadvertently created any new risk.
- Communications and engagement lead – a person who has the ability to create and execute a communications and engagement plan and the personal attributes to talk remotely with a wide range of people, agencies and organisations. Communication and engagement with the public during restrictions in place under Levels 3 and 2 of New Zealand's COVID-19 Alert System may require new and emerging approaches in some communities, which we have outlined here.
Note that some of these roles can be filled by the same person. For example, the project lead could also be the design/place-making lead or technical lead.
Help from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency
We understand not all project teams or organisations have the full breadth of expertise or resources to deliver all of the elements listed above, and that the urgent need to respond to COVID-19 can put pressure on team resourcing.
Waka Kotahi is in contact with Councils and consultancies across the country and may be able to provide connections to people and organisations with the expertise your team needs. Please contact us if you need this assistance.