By Christina Fermin
Politics & Society Columnist
Saturday June 16, downtown Fort Lauderdale’s Flager Arts & Technology (F.A.T.) Village community saw the vision of what downtown Fort Lauderdale could be: a walkable place where the pedestrian, the cyclist and the automobile are all equal. This event was put on by a handful of dedicated citizens in the F.A.T. Village arts district of which included Cadence Living, FAU, F.A.T. Village & UrbanMatters just to name a few.
The event was such a success everyone was asking if it would be a monthly event so that people could keep coming to downtown and enjoy all there was to offer at Florida’s first Better Block event.
Build a better block (Better Block for short) is a one day urban revitalization event held to inspire the community of the possibilities of what a rundown block that has been ignored by the city could look like. It is an event meant to inspire the individual and motivate them to go to their representatives, commissioners and city officials and demand for better places. This event filled a void in the community for the day and we hope that people take this energy and run with it, creating a livable urban space used by the community and by everyone surrounding the place.
Better Block Fort Lauderdale was closed with Fort Lauderdale’s first ever Pecha Kucha, a 20 slide presentation where presenters have 20 seconds per slide to discuss the meaning and vision behind each slide. The theme: Reimang[in]ing our city blocks, a closing that showed how we the community can create thriving urban spaces that are aesthetically pleasing while also serving purpose, form and function to all members, not just the vehicle. The presentations were a success, tickling the mind with imagination of how South Florida could be.
While I arrived early and left later than most, for the day I felt a sense of pride and saw what communities could look like. We took this block, which is located in an old warehousing district with few businesses nestled on NW 1st Avenue between NW 5th & 6th Street and created an urban city block with life featuring pop-up businesses, cafes, an urban garden, a pop-up dog park, DJ’s, a community welcome center, food trucks, art installations, wall murals and hand built street furniture which completely transformed this street and created an actual place, a destination, a location where people wanted to be for the day.
There was much to do from purchasing locally grown produce, building a terrarium, making your own Tom’s shoes, vintage clothing and vinyl records, jewelry, food, beverages, craft beers, previews to upcoming shows at the local Living Arts Studio plus an array of other things. The day was filled with shopping, socializing, eating, drinking, talking and entertainment. Friends, family and community all came by to see the hype.
All who attended left yearning for more. Better Block FTL created more than just hype, it created what so many of us yearn for, community. If you missed out on this wonderful event, please keep your eyes open for Better Block Miami.
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About the Columnist
With a bachelors degree in political science from Florida Atlantic University, ChristinaFermin has always cultivated her love for history, politics, sociology, ancient knowledge andteachings, the outdoors, the ocean and the environment. Christina strives to make our world better by helping us all create a new reality and understanding of all taking place here and now. You can reach her at Christina@MySavvySisters.Com