Public Piano On Halifax Waterfront

Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper is a placemaking and community design method that originates from the Project for Public Spaces, an organization based out of New York. It is a grassroots movement that leverages the lack of funding and resources that often exist for small-scale community projects. How are their projects done?

Lighter projects are seasonal or one-day events that can also be called pop-up projects. A “lighter” project is flexible and temporary. Quicker projects have short timelines from brainstorming to implementation. They avoid the long bureaucratic approval processes and look for a variety of funders to create their vision. Cheaper projects explore private and public funding options. They are open using grant programs, private sponsorships and partnerships, and crowdsourcing. 

All of PBJ Design’s projects take a Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper approach. Since we are a non-profit, we rely on community grants and private sponsorships. We look for inexpensive materials that can be used creatively to a beautiful product. Sometimes that means reusing materials like our #PlayMeHFX Pianos that are old pianos donated by community members. 

By now, some may see the similarities between the Tactical Urbanism movement and they would be right! They are different names for the same movement that focuses on quick community-led change and cost-effectiveness. The movement also goes by: action-planning, guerilla urbanism, pop-up projects, city repair, and DIY Urbanism. 

The Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper method and larger planning movement are most effective when a community would like to test a project that would change their environment. Completing a temporary project can be done with inexpensive materials that are within the budget of community groups. The project encourages collaboration and open-mindsets about how a space can look and function. Most importantly, Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper projects deepen community feelings of pride and ownership for their public space. 

The Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper method by Projects for Public Spaces: https://www.pps.org/article/lighter-quicker-cheaper

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