Team Better Block was recently announced as one of the 12 winners of the Knight Green Line Challenge. The Knight-funded project, entitled “Wiki-Block,” will develop, prototype, and open-source templates for snap-together urban street furniture that can be produced by anyone to transform a street or neighborhood.
Working with local organizations like Friendly Streets Initiative and national schools like Kent State University, Better Block would use the wiki-house model to develop a series of easy-to-assemble placemaking elements for use in current and future projects. These would include printable parklets, storefronts, cafe seating, bike lane buffers, planters, and more. After developing initial designs for these elements, the team would print and cut out the designs from CNC Routers, then engage with local community groups to snap them into place. Using CNC Routers would result in better quality interventions on the ground than the typical pallet construction technique often used in temporary placemaking projects.
The models could then be installed at FSI’s Better Bridges project, Smart Trips community outreach initiatives, and in the City of St. Paul’s Commercial Vitality Zones, in addition to being showcased during a Better Block event demonstrations in St. Paul and Akron, Ohio. Developing wiki-house models would allow the community to flat-pack placemaking materials and ship them to cities worldwide, or enable designers to download and print the designs themselves.
Once effective models are developed and implemented, Better Block will create an online “wiki-block” library for people to upload their designs into a public repository for placemakers to utilize all over the world. These designs can then be downloaded by like-minded community members, architects, and planners to download and implement in their cities.