Last year, Mobycon created a Tactical Urbanism Playbook as part of the Safe Way To School project initiated by Batumi City Hall, supported by GIZ’s Mobility4Cities, and carried out by Mobycon in collaboration with local partner Black Sea Eco Academy. The project culminated in a week-long tactical urbanist experiment in which the street in front of School #14 was closed to motorized traffic and opened to pedestrians, cyclists, children playing. We also recorded a Mobycon Academy with Communications and Engagement Advisor Melissa Bruntlett and Rusudan Zhozhadze, head of Municipal Policy Development at Batumi City Hall, to reflect on the pilot.
At School #14 in Batumi, Georgia, the majority of children walk to school and many others combine public transport and walking on their trips to school. Yet despite the low number of children brought to school by car, this traffic creates chaotic and oftentimes dangerous situations on the route to school. This is especially the case in the front of the school, where parents park their cars to drop their children off while other children and parents cross the street. During rainy days – of which Batumi has many – this is even more problematic.
Parents and teachers are worried about this situation and the negative effects on the safety and well-being of children that this creates. It is for this reason that School #14 was invited to participate in Safe Way to School, a pilot project initiated by Batumi City Hall, supported by GIZ’s Mobility4Cities, and carried out by Mobycon in collaboration with local partner Black Sea Eco Academy. In this pilot we worked with the school, parents, and the municipality to identify the main challenges and come up with potential solutions.
In the spring of 2022, we came together in Batumi to test one of the potential tactical urbanism solutions for one week. The street in front of the school was closed off to car traffic, and opened up for pedestrians, people cycling, and children playing. Children, teachers, and parents had the opportunity to enjoy the public space and experience the differences.
As part of the project we created the Safe Way to School Playbook, which we proudly share here with you. In this Playbook – published in English and Georgian – we describe the process and methods we used and the responses we got. It is full of descriptions and pictures that show involvement, excitement, and desire for safe space around the school.
We hope that this Playbook sparks an interest with a wide audience to create a world in which all children can arrive at school in stress free and safe ways. Enjoy the read and do let us know if we can help you with anything!