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Organize a Better Block Event

What is it? A better block event is designed to show people how a public space in their neighborhood might look different.  In order to help residents reimagine some part of their community, an area is often selected for a temporary makeover.  Organizers creatively employ low-cost, temporary measures to transform the appearance of a selected site, but only for a short period of time.  During that period, organizers invite residents and officials to visit the targeted location.  This is often used as a way to gather public perceptions of, or to generate public support for, more long-term changes.  Often, imaginations are sparked and people will begin to think creatively about a space, they may have previously ignored or avoided.

How has it been done? In April 2013, organizers in Norfolk, Virginia turned an economically depressed, and physically unattractive three block area into a bustling arts district for a weekend.  Volunteers opened a number of pop-up shops, including several art exhibitions and a coffee house.  Artists painted wall murals.  Organizers chalked temporary bike lanes, helping create a less car-centered and more people friendly atmosphere. Volunteers added plants and improved existing landscaping, to make the area more attractive.  Project leaders conducted a neighborhood walking tour, to help participants imagine new possibilities for the area.  The event produced a greater sense of excitement about the neighborhood. Afterwards, the organizers gathered data from participants and visitors about how this revitalization might be made permanent. (Source: Team Better Block: Norfolk)

Further Reading

Team Better Block

The Better Block

The Better Block Project-2011 ASLA Professional Awards