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We help communities achieve grassroots urban design.
Public spaces by, and with, people.
We Build Better Blocks.

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Build a Better Block

Hire us and go through our 120-day process of collaboration and design as we guide communities in revitalizing entire blocks that were previously underutilized or ignored. 

We are hired to complete 10 full-on projects a year.

We have 1 spot  remaining for 2024 and have officially opened up our 10 spots  for 2025!

Check out some examples, here!

Buy a Better Block in a Box

Our custom shipping containers, stocked full of street furniture, and guides for activating spaces. Easy to pick up and move, from event-to-event.

(Courtesy of Stantec Interns: Eamanne Moharram, Anthony Henein, and Diana Cortez)

Placemaking Open Source Tools

From conversation starters to a street furniture library, access our tools to get started today on your block.

Who & Why

When we prioritize people over cars, and build social infrastructure, the science has shown:

  1. People increase the time they spend in public spaces

  2. Social networks strengthen

  3. Crime goes down

  4. Older and sick people become more connected

  5. Trust rises

  6. Civic participation skyrockets

  7. Small and local business opportunities arise

  8. Emissions decrease

To accomplish and further these goals, we're tapping into larger national and international movements. Specifically, Environmental, Social, and Governance initiatives, and addressing the Social Determinants of Health.

Learn more about our current impact, as well as our direction,  here.

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Origins

Learn About Jason Roberts' Keynotes

Click here to learn more about Jason Roberts' keynotes. To inquire about availability, contact one of Jason's associates at speaking@cowanroberts.com.

In 2006, Jason Roberts formed the nonprofit organization, Oak Cliff Transit Authority, to revive the Dallas streetcar system, and later spearheaded the city’s effort in garnering a $23 million grant from the federal government to help reintroduce a modern streetcar system to Dallas.

 

In 2010, Jason organized a series of Better Block projects, taking blighted blocks with vacant properties in Dallas and converting them into temporary, walkable districts with pop-up businesses, bike lanes, cafe seating, and landscaping.

 

The project has become an open-sourced international movement occurring everywhere from Melbourne, Australia to Tehran, Iran, and has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Dwell Magazine.

 

Jason has received a Champions of Change award from the U.S. White House, showcased in the 2012 Venice Biennale, and was listed in Planetizen‘s Top 100 Most Influential Urbanists.

Better Block Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that educates, equips, and empowers communities and their leaders to reshape and reactivate built environments to promote the growth of healthy and vibrant neighborhoods.

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