Drive down Federal Highway between Sunrise and Commercial boulevard and you'll get a glimpse of what Fort Lauderdale once hoped to be. Faded buildings resembling space ships from 60's sci-fi movies cast weary shadows over their more modern counterparts. It's hard to image that these abandoned concrete fossils, which dot the weathered strip, once represented the future.
On Saturday, at the city's first Build a Better Block event, Fort Lauderdale residents ditched the archaic design and pastel colors of the past and imagined what Fort Lauderdale will look like in the future.
The Better Block project is a nationwide effort to promote the
revitalization of urban communities, increase economic development, and
promote better transportation systems in hopes of reducing carbon
emissions. In urban communities across the country, locals come
together to transform an entire city block by adding "pop-up" businesses,cafes,community gardens and even dog parks for the unique, one-day event.
Saturday's event took place in Fort Lauderdale's FAT (Flagler Arts and Technology) Village Arts District, located on the 500 block of N.W.1st Avenue. The up and coming artist community, normally lined with barbed wire and industrial warehouses, was converted into a lively community hub complete with art, music, vendors and of course, food.
Pop-up cafés in the form of food trucks, quickly assembled, wooden coffee bars, and nostalgic bake sale stands were major gathering points at the event. Food and drink pop-ups included local favorites like Brew Urban Café, Real Sorbet, Munchcakes, Zenergy, Riverside Market, Undergrounds Coffeehaus and Miami's favorite food truck, Ms.Cheezious.
Cadence, a local landscaping company, FAU's Urban Design & Regional
Planning Division, and FAT Village Arts District were responsible for
organizing the successful event. Judging by the number of times, "Why doesn't stuff like this
happen all time? " could be overheard, we can hopefully expect to see
more community-driven events like this in the future.
The bad news? Build a Better Block event doesn't happen every weekend. The good news? Even in the future, macaroons, grilled cheese sandwiches and beer will have a special way of bringing people together.
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Follow Clean Plate Charlie on Twitter: @CleanPlateBPB.