Moving America Forward

Watch How This Empty Intersection Brings a Whole Community Together

June 4, 2014
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Watch How This Empty Intersection Brings a Whole Community Together
Jennifer Conley via Flickr Creative Commons
An innovative urban planning project encourages more people to walk, bike and meet their neighbors. And it doesn't take a whole lot of money.

With a little bit of duct tape and a handful of volunteers, unused intersections across America are becoming Better Blocks.

You’re probably asking, what’s a Better Block? Well, it’s sort of a temporary community hangout that serves as an attempt to revitalize a run-down or unused area of town.

Thanks to the Better Block Project, an empty street in the Oak Cliff district in Dallas recently turned into a short-term plaza complete with pop-up shops, cafe seating, bike paths, local artists and activities suitable for the whole town.

“This is a street that’s worthless,” a woman says in the video below. “You can get to any point that’s around here without driving on this piece of pavement, so why not activate it and let the people own it?”

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According to founder Jason Roberts, most Better Block events cost less than $2,000 to organize, including the price for permits and insurance. As TreeHugger points out, it’s a small price to pay to revitalize a neighborhood and spur the local economy. Liveable Cities reports that after one event, vacancy rates on one block dropped from 75 percent to 10 percent, and active storefronts rose from 25 percent to 65 percent.

If you check out this map, you’ll see that since its founding in 2010, the Better Block project has caught on in cities from coast to coast.

Interested in organizing your own Better Block? The project happens to be open-sourced, which means it’s free and can be built upon. Check out this link here for information and resources.

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