2014 May

Better Blocks Project – The Elks Lodge in Middlesboro, KY

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During the last few weeks, I have been fortunate enough to be able to help the Middlesboro, KY Better Blocks group. One of my good friends lives in Middlesboro, and asked me to help him come up with some ideas for the Better Blocks project.

What is the Better Blocks project?

As Better Block’s facebook page states: “The Better Block is a tool for communities to complete “living charrettes” or demonstration zones that implement “complete streets”, enable economic development in dormant areas, and enliven public spaces.”

The Better blocks project is a down-up approach to literally doing that, making better blocks. Started by Jason Roberts and Andrew Howard, Better blocks is a tool that demonstrates that areas can be re-envisioned to create vibrant livable neighborhood centers, aka living space.

I think Jason Roberts explained it well during his Ted Talk in 2012. Watch the following video to watch what he says. I love the concept of creating weekend long project that show community leaders and policy-makers that their neighborhoods can be better, and that residents want them to be more interactive and places worth being.

Watch for the great advice at the end of the video:

  • Show Up
  • Give it a Name
  • Set a date and publish it (Blackmail yourself)

 The Elks Lodge –

One of the goals of the project at the Elks Lodge is to garner attention for a potential future renovation of the building. The building was originally built in 1911, and served as a convalescent home of the Benevolent and Protective order of Elks for less than a decade. Afterwards, the building served as a hospital. Many of the citizens living in Middlesboro today were born there.

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