To citymakers, Team Better Block are the urban planning experts who unlock the interest and creativity of the public with a process that designs for community, connection, and commerce from the ground up.
Team Better Block was founded in 2010 by Jason Roberts and Andrew Howard, as a transportation and placemaking focused public outreach firm that temporarily re-engineers auto-dominated, blighted, and underused urban areas into vibrant centers. Since then, The Better Block approach has been used in over two hundred cities around the world 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. Team Better Block’s work was featured in the 2012 Venice Biennale and has been spotlighted in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Dwell Magazine.
When Andrew first began Team Better Block and started painting his own bike lanes he thought he might end up in jail or at-least be stripped of his planning certification. He now has achieved international awards for the firm’s work and has clients from industry leading organizations.
Andrew is the principal of Team Better Block and one of the original founders of the Build a Better Block project. Alongside his neighbors he built the first two Better Blocks in Dallas, Texas and pioneered the idea of using pop up demonstrations as an urban planning method. Over the past eight years he and his team have refined how Better Block fits into community outreach, revitalization, complete streets and public space planning and design projects. Now having been used in over 150 communities from Sydney, Australia to Bethel, Vermont Better Block is seen as an alternative to the typical design and defend urban planning method of the past.
Layne is the Director of Design for Team Better Block, small business entrepreneur and ice cream aficionado. His work crosses between planning and design and will provide support to your project with innovative material sourcing and creative street and public space design. Prior to consulting Layne worked for Oklahoma City’s Plaza District and the City of Norman’s Development department. His graduate thesis focused on the role a signature bicycle and pedestrian network in Oklahoma City could have in creating a more healthy and connected city. He holds a Master of Science in Architecture and a Bachelor’s degree in Public Affairs and Administration from the University of Oklahoma.
Daniel is a project manager for Team Better Block, active transportation enthusiast, and advocate for community-driven development. He is a highly organized creative, equally utilizing the left and right hemispheres of the brain, who will act as your direct point of contact on your project and assist in the design and implementation of solutions for your community. He holds a Bachelor’s in Visual Communication and a Master’s in Architectural Urban Studies. His work has spanned from graphic design and marketing to business development, management consulting, as well as planning and nonprofit management. Immediately following the completion of graduate school, Daniel led the development and launch of Tulsa, Oklahoma’s first smart-bike sharing system, while assisting in the development of local policy and regulations for shared-use mobility systems. He strives to build innovative and collaborative environments that unite people and generate connections throughout the community.
Zoey is an urban designer for Team Better Block, bike fanatic, and a mild to moderate coffee addict. Between growing up as a bike network began to evolve and thrive in her hometown of Des Moines, Iowa and seeing the world from the seat of a bicycle on a cross-country bike trip with the non-profit Bike & Build, she developed an appreciation for the community that forms when people step out of their cars. Zoey’s Bachelor’s degrees in both Landscape Architecture and Community and Regional Planning from Iowa State University give her a unique understanding of the intersection between design and policy, and she aims to draw from her education and past experiences to design safe, inclusive, and vibrant spaces for active transportation.
BETTER BLOCK FOUNDATION, CHAIR
In 2010, Jason organized a series of Better Block projects, taking blighted blocks with vacant properties in Dallas and converting them into temporary, walkable districts with pop-up businesses, bike lanes, cafe seating, and landscaping. Soon after, he partnered with Urban Planner Andrew Howard and the two formed Team Better Block and augmented the art project into a planning process. The Better Block process has become an open-sourced international movement occurring everywhere from Melbourne, Australia to Tehran, Iran, and has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Dwell Magazine. In 2014, Jason transitioned from Team Better Block to the Better Block Foundation as chairman of the board. Jason is also pursuing at-least three businesses in the Bishop Arts district where he is putting into action the placemaking lessons learned from hundreds of projects and international travel. He acts as an advisor to Team Better Block when he is not grinding coffee in the back of his outdoors shop.