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2012 Better Block Year in Review

The Better Block went from a small community block project in Southern Dallas to an international movement in 2012. It’s been a whirlwind year and heartening to see so many neighborhoods, non-profit organizations, and cities take on their own Better Blocks to show the rapid potential for change that can occur when a small group of thoughtful, committed people dedicate themselves to real change. With that, we wanted to highlight our list of top milestones for the past year:

Better Block featured at the 2012 Venice Biennale in Italy


Better Block co-founder Jason Roberts Awarded as Champion of Change at the White House


Roberts’ work revitalizing a modern streetcar line in Dallas, and the Better Block projects were both highlighted as major initiatives that are helping re-shape the built environment. Click here to view the full White House blog post written by Jason on these efforts.


Better Block spotlighted in Dwell Magazine


Picnurbia, and Philadelphia’s The Porch projects showing how public spaces could be rapidly activated through lighter, quicker, and cheaper installations.

The US Department of Transportation looks to collaborate with Better Block Projects

After winning the White House Champions of Change Award, Better Block founders Jason Roberts and Andrew Howard were asked to meet with officials at the US Department of Transportation to begin collaborating on tracking metrics and gaining greater insight from community led block projects that could be instituted at a national level. Currently, Team Better Block in Dallas is working with application developers and open source gurus around the nation to develop a series of tools that communities could use to help implement projects and interact more closely with public officials to make temporary changes permanent.

The Better Block TEDx


The city of Austin, and Oklahoma University both hosted TEDx events that featured the Better Block originator, Jason Roberts talking about the history of the project and the path that led to the effort’s development. From restoring historic theatres, returning bygone streetcars, to creating a bicycle movement in a community with no bike infrastructure, the series of steps that created the foundation for the first Better Block are summed up in Jason’s high-speed, but passionate presentation.

Oklahoma Unveils Better Block training for all Main Street Associations across state


The Directors met in Tulsa, and began work revitalizing the Kendall-Whittier district which housed a historic theater, and multiple streetcar era structures. Teams set to work in 3 days and received certifications for their efforts in helping transform an area that has great potential for redevelopment. Click here to read more about the project.

The Alamo gets Better Blocked!


Jason Roberts nominated for Texan of the Year by the Dallas Morning News


The year wrapped up with a surprise nomination by the Dallas Morning News for Better Block originator, Jason Roberts as Texan of the Year. Check out the full article here. 

2013 looks to be an even bigger year with international projects occurring in Australia, Canada, and France!