Better Block Goes Small Town

From Dallas to Denver, Las Vegas to Oklahoma City... and now tiny North Adams, Mass. The wildly successful Better Block model has primarily spawned projects in large urban areas, but small towns are starting to pay attention.

Read Time: 1 minute

May 9, 2013, 6:00 AM PDT

By Rebecca Sanbor…


In April, students at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts launched "Eagle Street Rising" - a project to remake a street in North Adams, MA's (pop. ~13,000) tiny downtown using ideas and principles from the Better Block Project, reports Edward Damon.

Students in a Green Living Seminar worked from December-April to brainstorm, plan and pull off this one-day event, which is one of the first Better Block events in a small town.

"Students in the class were split into groups to work on different components of the project, including growing flowers to be placed on the street and organizing live street music...One of the most popular features of the event were several 'parklets' along the street, which turned parking spots into an extension of the sidewalk....Another popular component was the One Day Cafe, a 'pop-up business' in an empty building at 19 Eagle St., which provided complimentary coffee and pastries for attendees."

Monday, April 29, 2013 in North Adams Transcript

Books

The Top Urban Planning Books of 2022

An annual list of the must-read books related to urban planning and its intersecting fields.

November 28, 2022 - James Brasuell

The  Rue Sainte-Catherine in Bordeaux is crowded with pedestrians in a lively European scene.

European Cities Act on Density

The sprawling mass of suburbia has been a disaster for the environment. But now smaller, denser cities herald a renaissance in city living.

November 20, 2022 - Wired Magazine

Victorian two-story buildings with retail shops in downtown Nashvile, Tennessee

Nashville Sets Downtown Parking Maximums

Nashville is the latest city to enact a substantive change to the parking requirements set by the city’s zoning code—doing away with parking minimums and setting parking maximums in the city’s Urban Zoning Overlay.

November 20, 2022 - The Tennessean

Dark parking garage, empty except for one car covered with a red tarp

Advice for a Post-Parking Mandate World

After abolishing parking requirements, what can cities do to make the most of new space and revenue and avoid backlash?

November 29 - Next City

View of park ranger with tan hat from behind, ranger looking out at Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Western Voters: Yes to Conservation, No to Extremism

Voters in Western states generally favored candidates who support public land conservation in this November’s election and rejected extremist rhetoric.

November 29 - High Country News

The Boring Company

Detailing the Boring Company’s Poor Track Record

Elon Musk’s promised solution for congestion—the Boring Co.—has proven most successful at disappearing on the governments that trusted them.

November 29 - The Wall Street Journal

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.