Dialed in : how the 9th Street BMX Trails in Austin became a model for DIY Urbanism and flexible urban planning




Olsen, Tressa

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This research considers the value of informal bicycle motocross (BMX), trails as Do-it-yourself (DIY) Urbanism planning and place-making interventions. The goal is to illustrate how and why planners and decision-makers should rethink diverse uses of space to make it easier for the creation and formalization of DIY, community-led interventions. The report narrates the founding of the 9th Street BMX Trails in Austin, Texas, which has persisted as an informal, active space near the city’s central business district for over 20 years. It presents the efforts of a few citizen DIY planners not only to have the space formalized and protected for future generations, but also to share the 9th Street BMX model with other Central Texas cities. In addition to 9th Street, this report presents a case study in Denver, Colorado, where dirt BMX trails have been legitimized under the city’s Parks Department while still maintaining the spirit of DIY.


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