top of page

Big Changes at Better Block

Board members, including: Reese Collins, Morgan Spann, Jennifer Sanders, Drex Owusu, Dr. Diana Torres Rivera, Christian Chernock, Jason Roberts, Nathaniel Barrett

In December, we had our final board meeting of the year where we welcomed in our new board chair, Reese Collins, who is replacing Founding Director Jason Roberts. Here’s what Jason said about the transition:

"In April 2010, I started the Better Block project with a handful of friends who were

interested in figuring out ways to improve our city’s public spaces by incorporating bike lanes, crosswalks, street trees, pocket parks and more, but the planning process made it

difficult to impossible to make any of those things happen. Cars ruled the day, and anything that usurped their focus and predominance was considered unnecessary. After nearly 12 years, hundreds of cities, and dozens of countries, I’ve been lucky enough to create projects I’d only dreamed of, and received more notoriety than I ever imagined in the world of urban planning and design. A few months ago, I switched to part-time, then later board only, and as of yesterday, I officially rolled off as Chair to focus on the world of restaurants and retail spaces that Amy Cowan and I have been developing over the past few years. Fortunately, these new ventures give me the opportunity to continue applying urban design principles that I love, so I’m never far removed from the work that sparked all of my passion for cities, people, and public spaces. The organization is being left in great hands, as Krista Nightengale has done an amazing job of stewarding the organization, helping it grow, and taking it to the next level. And our new board Chair, Reese Collins, is a perfect fit that shares all of the same passions for community and creating great places for people. I’m so excited to see things continue on with the two of them leading the way. I’ll still be around, and will continue speaking all over the world and advising on various projects, but I’m excited for this new chapter and cannot wait to cheer the team on from the sidelines!"

It is impossible to put into words what Jason has done for not only our little organization, but the countless neighbors he's worked with over the years. He has literally changed lives, streets, and ordinances.

We are honored he has entrusted us to continue the work he began more than a decade ago.

We are so excited to welcome Reese Collins as our new board chair. His enthusiasm for this work is infectious, and he has assembled an incredible team of board members to take us into this next phase. We also said goodbye to Christian Chernock, who has given six years of service to our organization, helping and guiding us as we've grown and adapted over the years. Thank you, Christian.

We have also added a few new board members, including Morgan Spann, Drex Owusu, and Nathaniel Barret. To find out more about them, go here.

We know the work we get to do is rather unusual. The neighbors we work with (and the donors who fund the projects) are asked to put a lot of trust in us. We often start a project not knowing what we’ll be doing or what the impact will be. But time and again, you all prove how magical it can be when we listen and then design.

Thank you for welcoming us to so many of your neighborhoods, and thank you for your trust. We look forward to more transformations in 2022.


bottom of page