Better Block

August 17th, 2012

In collaboration with Project for Public Spaces (PPS)
San Antonio’s first Better Block Project in coordination with the City of San Antonio’s Complete Streets Initiative and Metro Health’s SiClovia was a great success. Over 80 volunteers showed up to help transform a vacant building, overly wide streets, and empty park into a thriving, active neighborhood destination. Teams built cafes, flower shops, art galleries, kids art spaces, outdoor food courts, wayfinding signage, benches, landscaping, bike lanes, reverse angled parking, a functioning rain garden and more in the span of days. The mayor, council members, and area residents came out to celebrate the revitalized space alongside thousands of pedestrians and cyclists who took part in San Antonio’s second ever Siclovia.

A side project we undertook while working on the Better Block was looking at the empty park beside our area and thinking about ways we could inexpensively make the space more friendly to families. After spotting some discarded tires in an alley, we instantly realized the solution: tire swings! For less than $50, we accumulated several tires, rope, and paint, and proceeded to fill the trees with swings. Within minutes of tying up the last tire, children from out of nowhere began descending on the park. Families driving by stopped, parked their cars and began playing, and our volunteers even took multiple breaks to swing. Simple solutions like these don’t cost a lot of money, but provide real value to families who want fun and inexpensive activities for their children.

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