SAPD Issues Thousands of Tickets for Homelessness

SAPD Issues Thousands of Tickets for Homelessness

News: Data and records obtained by the Current show that between January 1, 2013, and early October of this year the... By Alexa Garcia-Ditta and Elaine Wolff 10/22/2014
‘Walking the Camino’ Explores a Treacherous Trek Through Spain

‘Walking the Camino’ Explores a Treacherous Trek Through Spain

Screens: In the Middle Ages, pilgrims walked the 500-mile El Camino de Santiago de Compostela as a pilgrimage to the tomb of Apostle St. James. It was an... By Stephen James Ross 10/22/2014
A Closer Look: The ins and outs of a few important races

A Closer Look: The ins and outs of a few important races

News: For more than a year now gubernatorial candidates Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott have dominated airwaves and secured way... By Mark Reagan 10/22/2014
Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Music: Chris Pérez never saw it coming. “All I ever wanted to do was play guitar,” he told the Current. “I never thought I’d be the subject of an interview... By Enrique Lopetegui 8/28/2013
5 Awesome Ways to Survive on Ramen

5 Awesome Ways to Survive on Ramen

College Guide 2013: Nearly every college student has lived off of ramen noodles at one point or another. What a lot of them didn’t know was that the classic just-add-water... By Mary Caithn Scott 8/20/2013

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email


Team Better Block takes on Alamo Plaza

Photo: Photos by Steven Gilmore, License: N/A

Photos by Steven Gilmore

Photo: , License: N/A

Team Better Block volunteers hard at work during last Friday's pre-build event.

This Friday and Saturday an experiment will be held in Alamo Plaza. The street will be closed and food stalls and a pop-up wine shop will be erected. Storytellers and musicians will be on hand, and a walking tour of the plaza will point out the locations of the long missing walls of Mission San Antonio de Valero. In honor of Davy Crockett's birthday, the Alamo will stay open late Friday night, and Saturday, Native American dancers will perform.

The history-themed itinerary has all the fixings of a blow-out street party, but, says organizer Andrew Howard of Team Better Block, "First thing — it's not a party. It's a demonstration."

The 2012-17 bond voted in this year awards $1.2 million for improvements to Alamo Plaza, but like most aspects of the famous but contentious site, there is no clear consensus on what changes should be made, what stories should be told. To explore options, this weekend's event will present mock-ups of features and programming that might be incorporated in a re-imagined plaza. Following on their partnership with the Complete Streets Initiative of the city's Department of Planning and Community Development last March during Síclovía, when Better Block volunteers turned a run-down stretch near Broadway into a temporary vision of urbanity — replete with art gallery, flower shop and street music — TBB was asked by the Center City Development Office to take on another demo: Alamo Plaza.

Formed in 2010 by Andrew Howard, a transportation planner, and Jason Roberts, an I/T and communications consultant, Dallas-based TBB practice place-making in its most literal fashion, building mock-ups of possible urban futures in abandoned blocks in cities across Texas and beyond to encourage grassroots participation in urban development. Though they now consult many municipalities, and both Howard and Roberts have extensive corporate and government experience, their first effort in the Dallas Oak Cliff neighborhood was a guerrilla action. Inspired by Park(ing) Day, a worldwide event begun in 2005 that temporarily transforms street parking spaces into people spaces with tiny stores, food offerings, and miniature libraries, they took the model and decided to scale it up to block size. Six blocks away from a site that had received $2 million in city infrastructure improvements lay a blighted area that Oak Cliff residents knew had potential. "We were frustrated that the city was taking a long time to do anything," says Howard. "We had gone to enough public meetings. So we said, 'Let's just do it ourselves.'" Moving into the place without city permission, the group built a temporary art installation, then invited city representatives and staff to judge the project. "We posted what all laws we were breaking, like, you couldn't have awnings, you couldn't have street flowers, you couldn't gather on the sidewalk. Just old laws that we had," says Howard. "And they said, 'Well, we don't know why we have those. We should look into changing that.'" What began in April, 2010, as a renegade community action was soon backed up by the city of Dallas: "They started changing those laws, and we got a million dollars for that first Better Block to make it permanent. You look at a typical timeline for something like that, it's five years."

Recently in News
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus