The Better Block project–led by neighborhood design instigators Jason Roberts and Andrew Howard–was showcased in the New York Times Fixes article “How to Build a Better Neighborhood” by Tina Rosenberg. Since the first project initiated in 2010 in Oak Cliff, Dallas, Better Block projects have spread like wildfire across America and even as far as Iran. The key to success of these placemaking projects are safety (real and perceived,) shared access for varied transportation methods, shops to incite ‘stay power,’ and amenities for people aged 8 to 80. Roberts and Howard continue to iterate and improve their process, which is openly shared on the Better Block blog.
How do residents transform their neighborhoods into places built around people? Usually, they start by talking to city officials, and if they are lucky, begin a series of public meetings, consultations and debates. If they are very lucky, these meetings progress to plans, visions and renderings. If those work out, something changes. This can take years. Too often, though, years go by and what is produced is nothing more than a document. Or, those with less patience can do what Jason Roberts did.
Click here to read “How to Build a Better Neighborhood,” online at NYTimes.com.