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Santander Consumer USA Foundation is bringing the Better Block to Mesa with a 120-day design process culminating in a two-day demonstration. We’ll work with you and your neighbors to identify what changes you’d like to see, then we’ll work with you to bring it to life with street murals, digitally fabricated furniture, local artists, and programming. More details soon!

To learn more about the Better Block, the process, and the timeline, keep scrolling.

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What Is the Better Block?

The 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.

The Better Block began with an idea from a group of neighbors who wondered, “How could we have bike lanes like those found in Holland? How could we have night food markets like those found in Thailand and beer gardens like those in Munich?” They realized they couldn’t. There were decades-old ordinances on their city books that prohibited them from creating spaces like those they dreamed of.

 

So they did the only thing they could: they reimagined their block. They painted bike lanes, coordinated pop-up food markets and retailors with neighbors, and created a beer garden. They called their experiment the Better Block, and through it, the community brainstormed together, learned together, and ultimately shared in the beautiful and vibrant spaces they helped create together.

 

The drive to make places better was placed in the hands of neighbors, and they ran with it. Over the years, Better Blocks have been implemented from Portland to Detroit and Melbourne to Tehran. We work around the world turning empty lots into beautiful plazas; overbuilt streets into markets; and have given run-down, vacant buildings new life. Our process is 120 days and culminates with a two-day demonstration.

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The Timeline

Better Blocks are fast and furious. But the beauty of a quick timeline is that it prevents over-meeting and overthinking each component; it quickly organizes community members; and it culminates in a quick win.

A Better Block should never be the final step in community change; it should be the beginning. 

Here's a proposed timeline* for the Better Block Mesa, powered by Santander Consumer USA Foundation.

Begins Mid-December: Kickoff of Project; Surveys go Live

End of December: Surveys Close

January 24: Design Set

March 22-27: Better Block Week 

*Timeline subject to change

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FAQs

What is the Better Block? The 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.

 

Why is Santander Consumer USA Foundation bringing a Better Block project to Mesa? Santander Consumer USA Foundation is deeply committed to the communities it serves. When Better Block approached Santander Consumer USA Foundation about an opportunity to let neighbors in Mesa choose to go through the entire Better Block process, Santander Consumer USA Foundation agreed.

 

Why should I nominate my block? Because you’re looking for change, have a great group of neighbors who are excited to get to work, and you want to make a better place for all.

 

What will be expected of me? You’ll need to fill out the application, which will take a decent amount of time, and if your block is chosen, you’ll become one of the Block Captains. You’ll be heavily involved with the planning and implementation of the Better Block. It will be a lot of work, but also, a lot of fun.

 

What are you looking for in the nominations? There are three core elements we look for in a project: 1. We want a space that has commercial activity or the ability to host commercial activity so we can work with local entrepreneurs; 2. We are often looking at spaces where we can demonstrate what it means to put people over cars (road diets, parking lots to plazas, etc); 3. Most importantly: we look for an engaged community, super volunteers, and people who love Mesa.

A Huge Thank You To Santander for Bringing Better Block to Mesa

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