Better Blocks may start over a weekend, but their impact lasts much longer. Last year, New Kensington, Pennsylvania, asked Team Better Block co-founder Andrew Howard to survey the downtown area and to speak to residents about the power they have to revitalize their town using the Better Block approach of calming streets, popping up shops, and seeding activity in public spaces. Three Better Block projects later, the city is in the midst of a transformation due to the strength of the grassroots movement, combined with a Mayor and City that supports it.
“That will bring to 10 the number of businesses moving to downtown storefronts since the first Better Block celebration in the city in 2015,” said Mayor Tom Guzzo. “The concept works.” Better Block’s idea is to show what improvements can look like in one block, get people interested, and encourage business development in that block, then let development spread from there, according to an article in the Tribelive.
Great job, everybody in New Ken. You are setting a national example of how legacy cities can reboot themselves into the new economy one block at a time.