betterblock.org provides news and information on Better Block projects occurring around the world.
Want to Learn How to Build a Better Block?
Team Better Block is now offering on-site workshops for your city!
What does Team Better Block do?
Team Better Block temporarily re-engineers and re-programs auto dominated, blighted, and underused urban areas into complete ones by working with cities, developers, and stakeholders to create quick, inexpensive, high-impact changes. Team Better Block uses pop-up shops to test the local economic development potential of streets re-engineered for walkability. Additionally, Team Better Block bolsters civic pride by enlisting the community in the build-out of the temporary installation.
Why are Team Better Block’s Temporary Rapid Revitalization Projects Important?
Although comprehensive planning projects are necessary for most property developments, the cost, scale and long-range timelines associated with these initiatives can often lead to a loss in project momentum and frustration or lack of confidence among area stakeholders and residents. In our projects we have seen improved acceptance by city engineers, planners, designers, and public safety officials of some of the most progressive measures in the urban street design toolbox. The Better Block approach has been used in over thirty cities from California to New York to illustrate rapid street changes and community revitalization. These cities have reported greater understanding and urgency by elected officials, leaders, and citizens for permanent change.
What will you learn in the Better Block workshop?
Introduction to Team Better Block approach
How to re-engineer and re-program streets, sidewalks, properties, and spaces for safety, shared amenities, and
How to rally stakeholders, community, and civic participation
How to promote the demonstration through marketing, “shared” events, and social media
How to file for proper permitting for the demonstration
How to create teams and designate tasks efficiently and effectively
How to survey public and private spaces of blighted or auto-centric blocks through “on site” visits
How to design, build, and install temporary re-engineering and re-programming elements safely, economically, and efficiently through “hands on” demonstrations
How to measure through a set of metrics and reports the successes and failures of the demonstration
How to continue future efforts and take next steps for permanent change
For Andrew Howard, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Half-day Workshop Program includes one hour introduction, one hour of improve building, one hour of how to build a better block, one hour of resource and talent identification. Attendees leave with one small action to make a better city and a database of people and resources to build their own better block.
Full-day Workshop Program includes all elements from half-day, a walk about of a potential area and identification of better block elements. Three one hour of interactive design sessions for placemaking, programming and street design. Attendees leave with all the half-day items and a design document for their own better block.
Three-day Workshop Program includes all elements of half-day plus two days of building a better block. Attendees leave with the experience of building their own better block. measures of effectiveness and a guidebook to making the better block permanent.
For questions regarding the workshop email Andrew@teambetterblock.comBIOS OF INSTRUCTORS
Jason Roberts is the founder of the Oak Cliff Transit Authority, originator of the Better Block Project, co-founder of the Art Conspiracy and Bike Friendly Oak Cliff, and recent candidate for US Congress. In 2006, Jason formed the non-profit organization, Oak Cliff Transit Authority, to revive the Dallas streetcar system, and later spearheaded the city’s effort in garnering a $23 Million dollar TIGER stimulus grant from the FTA to help reintroduce a modern streetcar system to Dallas. In 2010, Jason organized a series of “Better Block” projects, taking blighted blocks with vacant properties in Southern Dallas and converting them into temporary walkable districts with pop-up businesses, bike lanes, cafe seating, and landscaping. The project has now become an international movement and has been featured in theNew York Times, Dwell magazine, TED Talks and on NPR. Team Better Block was showcased in the US Pavillion at the 2012 Venice Biennale.
Andrew Howard, AICP worked for 12 years in traditional urban and transportation planning at regional government offices and a top national engineering firm before leaving to help pioneer a new approach to public outreach. Realizing that over the past several decades, designers and city officials have struggled to create and maintain interest from local communities for long-term urban revitalization, Andrew and Co-founder Jason Roberts created The Better Blocks Project.Now being used in over forty cities and three nations, the better block illustrates how simple modifications can powerfully alter the economic, social, and ecological value of a city by gathering designers and community volunteers together to create a one-day urban intervention to spark the imagination and interest of citizens and leaders alike. The American Society of Landscape Architects called it, “a 21st-century version of what the Chicago World’s Fair did in 1893.” The project has now become a staple for communities seeking rapid urban revitalization and has been featured in the New York Times, Dwell magazine, NPR’s Marketplace and showcased in the US Pavilion at the 2012 Venice Biennale and highlighted at the National Association for City Transportation Officials.
Wanda Dye is an assistant professor in architecture at UT Arlington and founder and director of RE gallery + studio soon to open in the Cedars, Dallas, Texas. Set to open early fall 2012 – RE – a new collaborative community – will exhibit, consult, create, and disseminate RE practices in art and design – practices such as retrofitting, repurposing, reclamation, and reuse. Professor Dye received her Bachelors of Architecture from Auburn University and her Masters of Architecture from Columbia University. While in New York she worked in award winning design offices of Skidmore Owings and Merrill and Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects. For the past twelve years she has taught at several institutions and served as a consultant and/or collaborator on many design proposals and projects. Her most recent service learning teaching, consulting, and creative practice include collaborations with the Arlington Urban Design Center, AURORA, Carl Small Town Center, Cedars Open Studios, Change Chamber Development, Design Build Adventure [Jack Sanders], Ecological Community Builders, Fort Worth Avenue Development Group, National Housing Partnership, PARK[ing] Day Dallas, Alison Starr, SMU Meadows School of the Arts, Team Better Block [Jason Roberts and Andrew Howard], and The Galleries on Hickory. These collaborations have been covered in Art + Seek, A+C [Arts+ Culture] of North Texas, Dallas Morning News, D Magazine, Green Magazine, Pegasus News, The Dallas Observer, and Texas Architect.