From the Good Ideas File: expanding the model at Better Block Boro

A couple of weeks ago I had a return engagement in Middlesboro, Kentucky for Better Block Boro Part 2.  As I wrote about in this entry, the first Better Block Boro was held last October, and since I had never witnessed a tactical urbanism intervention in person, it was fascinating to me. This time I returned with my dear friend Bill Lutz, and we spent the day observing and having great conversations about what makes communities thrive or fail — and we had lots of object lessons to talk about.

Unlike the first BBB, which pulled in dozens of volunteers from colleges throughout the region, this one was intentionally focused on engaging local residents.  And local residents turned out.  Some were familiar faces from the last go-round, but many more were new to me, at least.

Like most Better Blocks, this one focused on one downtown city blockface, but it included a mix of physical improvements (like the first one) and what I might characterize as economic experiments, including a Maker’s Market and a demonstration of using local foods in cooking (paddlefish, anyone?  It’s actually quite good…).

You can get an overview of the event from the photo album below, and I’ll give you an (occasionally bumpy) walk-though via video below that.

Thanks again to Downtown Middlesboro for the kind invitation!

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