The first Better Block Project took place this past April in the Oak Cliff community of Dallas, Texas. Through the collaboration of businesses, non-profits and the Street Space Team, a once-decrepit block was transformed into a vibrant community space….for less than $1000. Although the effort was temporary (lasting 2 days), the idea was to highlight important factors that can convert run-down, depressed areas into desirable destinations. The Project focuses on implementing 2 main ideas: The Perception of Safety and Economic Stimulation. With a little lighting, a little paint, safe crossings for pedestrians, wider sidewalks, bike lanes, outdoor vendor space, outdoor seating for cafes, and maybe some outdoor music, an enlivened atmosphere is created. It draws people in. They spend money. They support local businesses. They meet their neighbors. It’s a community-in-the-making.
This project has since inspired similar efforts in Memphis TN, Oyster Bay NY, Waco TX, Fort Worth TX, and Mount Rainier MD. Read more about the projects.