Today I'm headed down to Strong Towns South, the office of our Executive Director Jim Kumon, for a really exciting conversation with some of my planning heroes. I didn't know if this meeting was top secret or not at this stage, but since Jason Roberts and Andrew Howard of The Better Block and Mike Lydon of Street Plans Collaborative all tweeted about it yesterday, there's no secrecy to it for me.
Mike is in town for the First National Open Streets Training. If you're not familiar with Mike's work, you really should check out his website. Mike is not only a bike advocate but his Tactical Urbanism approach is something we've written about here quite often. Tactical Urbanism is the inspiration for our A Better Brainerd initiative and, I firmly believe, the way we're going to start identifying those high return investments within our communities.
And for those of you that are not familiar with the Minneapolis/St. Paul biking scene, here is a video Clarence Eckerson at Streetfilms recently shared with me.
Jason Roberts and Andrew Howard with The Better Block are just simply amazing people. I was stunned speechless the first time I saw one of their projects -- the first Better Block in Oak Cliff -- because I immediately understood the implications. This approach has the power to change everything. EVERYTHING!
I'm obsessed with the knowledge and insights about building great, financially strong, places that our ancestors around the world had embedded in their cultures for millennia. They just did it, they just copied the pattern that had been given them because they understood that it worked. It is this insight that has given me a firm belief that our cities will be saved, not by better planners, engineers and public officials, but by hordes of ordinary people who are in touch with their communities just loving their places, taking ownership of them, doing things differently.
That's The Better Block. Just. Plain. Awesome.
So what does a collaborative effort involving Street Plans Collaborative, Tactical Urbanism, The Better Block and Strong Towns look like?
I'm not sure right now, but it smells like the future to me. And I'm so excited about it I can hardly sleep.
So if you are in the Twin Cities the next couple of days, keep an eye out for a group of cyclists laughing and having a good time, frequently stopping to take some photos or point out some unique feature and all the while planning for a stronger America.