Better Block Foundation - The Pitch

Better Block Foundation

Promotes the growth of healthy, vibrant neighborhoods by enabling communities and leaders
to reshape and reactivate existing environments

Leadership: Jason Roberts & Krista Nightengale  |  Founded: 2015  |  Focus: Health


Better Block Foundation educates, equips, and empowers communities and their leaders to reshape and reactivate built environments to promote healthy and vibrant neighborhoods. We create tools and resources for people who want to make a change in their community, but don’t know where to begin. With exposure to and training from urban planning experts, civic innovators, and architects, communities and their leaders are able to learn together, enhance engagement, and share in the beautiful and vibrant spaces they’ve created.

Over the years, Better Block has gone from temporary builds to robust designs that activate spaces and bring people together. This foray into digital fabrication led to the concept of Place Fab, a production shop focused on placemaking elements.


  • 77% of Better Block projects have increased community engagement

  • In 65% of projects, vacant buildings have been redeveloped, creating neighborhoods with commercial and residential access

  • 1/3 of lane reconfiguration plans have been implemented, resulting in new bike lanes, wider sidewalks, and new spaces for people to occupy


    Digital fabrication is not a common occurrence in urban design.

    By using 3-D printers, laser cutters, and CNC routers to produce the elements for Place Fab, we’re literally reshaping neighborhoods in real time, rather than waiting years for plans to be produced and implementation to work its way through the bureaucratic process.

    By teaching students how to use this technology and urban design principles, we’re enabling those most impacted by design to influence the future.




Place Fab, a subsidiary of the Better Block Foundation, creates another avenue to sustainability. A portion of each product sold goes to the foundation, enabling the nonprofit to prototype.