Jason Roberts has a very clear idea of what cities are: places where people gather to live, work, trade, etc. However, there is still a lack of community engagement, since we don’t see people coming together to help repair places: they assume that someone else will take care of the problems and fix their neighborhoods. To Jason, it is urgent for people to realize that they have the power to shape their spaces when they come together.
The willing to revert this situation in his hometown was the seed of what he later founded as the Better Block project, born to empower communities to reshape and reactivate built environments to promote the growth of healthy and vibrant neighborhoods. The public realm needs to be continually fought for and this is what the Better Block stands for. In this interview Jason explains how they changed laws and recreated the neighborhood they wanted: with bike lanes, cafes, green areas. The greatest changes come from those that look at rules, realize they are wrong, stand up and change them.
About the authors
Jason Roberts is the founder of the Oak Cliff Transit Authority, founder of the original Better Block Project, co-founder of Art Conspiracy and Bike Friendly Oak Cliff, and candidate for US Congress. In 2006, Jason formed the non-profit organization Oak Cliff Transit Authority to revive the Dallas streetcar system. In 2010, Jason organized a series of “Better Block” projects, which have become an international movement and has been featured in the New York Times, Dwell magazine, TED Talks and on NPR.