Frenchtown Better Block

The Frenchtown Better Block captured a diverse auidence by organizing unique programs that appealed to a wide range of people. Word about the project and its robust programming was spread through the community via a broad array of channels with the help of our marketing committee. 

Frenchtown was bursting with neighbor-to-neighbor engagement. Every respondent we surveyed reported having a social interaction with someone new. There are many places and organized events that foster the attendance of diverse populations or a high level of social interaction – but very few succeed in achieving both. 

Strategic design elements were the facilitators of public life. The gaps within the area were sealed with pedestrian infrastructure improvements such as the art-crosswalk on both sides of Brevard Street, and the varied activities that stretched along the storefronts, making the space feel complete and active. The pedestrian island installation was instrumental in slowing down traffic which improved safety and comfort for community members. 

Activity shifted to different areas and programs throughout the event. On Friday night activity was split between the plaza, and the amphitheater where live music played most of the evening. On Saturday our study observed more activity in the Macomb St plaza. Because morning activity was sparser, the performance space was moved to the plaza alongside the food and commercial activities. This overlapping of programs converged a critical mass of people, and made the space feel vibrant. 

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