To city makers, Team Better Block are the urban planning experts who unlock the interest and creativity of the public with a process that designs for community, connection, and commerce from the ground up.
Better Block originated in 2010 as an alternative to the traditional urban planning process. View case studies and downloads here.
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Better Block disrupts the traditional planning process and replaces it with hands-on community action. During a Better Block demonstration, our team partners with local residents, stakeholders and volunteers to temporarily create a walkable, livable block by building street furniture, parklets and outdoor seating, placing entrepreneurs in vacant storefronts, landscaping the street, painting temporary bike lanes and crosswalks, and energizing public space with lively programming and local art.
Team Better Block works with government officials, community members and developers to refine policy and implement plans that encourage permanent change to take place in their cities. We consult on regulation reform, community outreach tactics, and economic development strategies that promote vibrant, livable, multi-modal places.
Team Better Block hosts customizable, interactive workshops that teach and empower participants to quickly implement short-term, high-impact improvements that inspire long-term change in their cities. We employ innovative techniques and easy-to-use tools and materials in order to bridge the gap between professionals and citizens.
Andrew Howard, AICP is internationally respected for his people focused design approach and rapid-implementation strategies that are being replicated around the world. He is an urban planner, cofounder of Better Block and a principal at Team Better Block consulting. He has 17 years experience in transportation and land development planning and design, and was a 2015 Loeb Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
A local Oak Cliff advocate for better bicycle infrastructure, Jonathan was one of the original Better Block's community volunteers that helped put the design/build concept to work. He’s worked to get more bicycle infrastructure implemented on Dallas’ aging roadways, presiding as the first Dallas Bicycle Coalition president and board member of Bike Friendly Oak Cliff. He’s the business owner of Oak Cliff Cargo Bicycles and founder of the Bicycle Brewery Tour.
What people are saying
Partnering with Team Better Block in Haverhill has been an amazing experience. We can already see lasting impacts from the Haverhill Better Block event, which allowed us to engage vendors looking to do business more permanently in the city, and existing businesses working to keep outdoor dining for the remainder of the season. Most importantly, Team Better Block helped us engage local residents and entrepreneurs we had not yet been able to reach through our ongoing work with the City.
Noah Koretz, Transformative Development Fellow, MassDevelopment
Team Better Block not only understands what cities need to be vibrant, inclusive communities but they also get small town America where the challenges are different --- the expertise and tools that Team Better Block brought to VT was invaluable. They offered an experience to test change, sparking enthusiasm and momentum.
Kelley Stoodard-Poor, Associate State Director, AARP Vermont
“The Better Block costs about as much as a public meeting and a set of renderings would have, but it did so much more for building momentum, understanding, and sheer enthusiasm for complete streets.”
Peer Chacko, Assistant Director, City of Dallas
“[Better Block is] a 21st-century version of what the Chicago World’s Fair did in 1893.”
The American Society of Landscape Architects,
“The Specialists (urban designers, planners, engineers) need to realize that the locals can and want to make place... and give them the power to do so. Team Better Block provided us with the tools, best practices and inspiration to make a positive influence on our city. Thank you!”
Suzette Jackson, Innate Ecology, Geelong, Australia