Original Better Block
April 10th-11th, 2010
The first public mention of the Better Block Project was published on BikeFriendlyOC.org, and describes the project "as part of the Oak Cliff Art Crawl several BFOCer's along with Go Oak Cliff are creating a "living block" art installation. This started an international shift in the public planning processed open sourced as the Better Block process.
The original concept came together organically from many people that had never met each other. Most of us didn't know what it really was we were putting together until the day of the event. The explosive energy that affected so many individuals during that process was electric. Here's how the original concept was described: "We'll be taking a car-centric four lane street with poor zoning and restrictive development ordinances, and convert it into a people-friendly neighborhood block. For two days only, we'll install three pop-up businesses, including a coffee shop, flower store, and kids' art studio and we'll be bringing in historic lighting, outdoor cafe seating, and more. We're working with the set design group, Shag Carpet, and have a team of artists, advocates, and residents all coming together to help pull the project together. Currently, the city creates obstacles for businesses wishing to develop awnings, outdoor seating, live/work spaces, et al. This event is being developed to highlight the changes Dallas should focus on if it truly wants to compete with other major US cities."
As pronounced by the organizers, "the block heard around the world"! The viral, transformative and immediate success of that original, grassroots project led Jason Roberts and Andrew Howard to create Team Better Block, LLC, a consulting firm that has been apart of over 150 Better Block projects to-date around the world. It's impact has seen municipal agencies rethink the traditional planning process, policy changes or illiminations and even new departments engineers, planners and construction staff to test and prototype designs that otherwise may take a few years to see results. Born in the middle of one of the worst economic downturns our country had every seen, the Better Block project sees it's lasting affect today and beyond.