After evaluating four potential sites in Norfolk, Team Better Block selected the proposed Norfolk Arts District as the site of a “Complete Streets” project, which will take place this April.
The proposed Downtown Norfolk Arts District just got a huge boost yesterday.
A before-and-after of a Team Better Block project.
So, a couple months ago the City Manager engaged Team Better Block to take a look at a few potential sites in Norfolk to do a “Complete Streets” project. As they explain on their website, Team Better Block works with cities, developers, and stakeholders to create quick, inexpensive, high-impact changes that improve and revitalize underused properties and highlight the potential for creating great “Complete Streets.”
Here’s how they describe the work they do:
“Though comprehensive planning projects are necessary for most property developments, the cost, scale, and long-range timelines associated with these initiatives can often lead to a loss in project momentum and frustration or lack of confidence among development stakeholders and area residents. Team Better Block creates a series of “quick win” projects using the “Better Block” approach that brings greater attention to developments prior to buildout, which in turn increases the potential for pre-leasing. Our team also works with developers to identify and test infrastructure improvements that can provide higher returns on their investments by increasing their project’s overall attractiveness and tenant quality of life. Team Better Block also works with city governments to identify underperforming properties, and generate greater interest and reinvestment through community outreach.”
The videos below give you a great idea of how inspiring their projects are. The first video highlights a project they did in Dallas, Texas. The second video is a TED talk by Better Block founder Jason Roberts about their history and the philosophy behind what they do.
Several weeks ago, they came to town to evaluate 35th Street, Five Points/Norview, First View in downtown Ocean View, and Granby north of Brambleton, which is the spine of the proposed Arts District. Below is a video from Norfolk News Now, describing the process of evaluation and selection:
Ultimately they chose the Arts District, to do their initial demo, but it sounds like this won’t be the last we’ll hear from them in Norfolk. Here is their video announcement:
As they say in the video, this project will happen in April. (Part of their M.O. is fast turnaround.)
This is a huge win for the proposed Arts District as it opens up the conversation completely to what could and should be developed in this area. Team Better Block’s goal is not to create some one-off event, but to creatively demonstrate the long-term potential for a street and a neighborhood. So even after April, this could and should kick off a serious and well-supported campaign to make this neighborhood a true jewel in Norfolk.
Click here to read an update of other recent developments in the proposed Downtown Norfolk Arts and Design District. And to follow all the developments in the Norfolk Arts District, “like” it on Facebook.