Crowd sourcing, crowd funding, kick-starting whatever term you choose to use, is the modern day version of barn raising. People of the greater community joining hands, minds, backs and pocketbooks to achieve something for the greater good (in most cases). Anything from businesses to parks, to gadgets, to heart-joining trips. It’s basically gorilla venture capitalism.
Recently, another Kevin Roden project was presented to a large group of Dentonites. As you probably know, Kevin is one of our City Councilpeople and is known for brainstorming ideas which tap the creative soul of Denton. THIS idea, which will hopefully come to fruition, would transform Denton one block at a time. The idea revolves around crowd sourcing ideas, materials, labor and vision to transform entire strategic blocks of our fair city in an effort to enhance Dentoning.
The forward-looking approach to urban renewal would start with a vision of any number of ways a block could be improved…from dedicated bike lanes, to the planting of trees/grass/shrubbery to food carts, street artists, covered seating, to repurposed building use, to making the block pedestrian traffic only. The possibilities are limited only by the imaginations of Dentonites and City rules and regulations. The former of these is unlimited, the later can be dealt with by the imaginative, status quo interrupting City government now in place.
The project presentation included input from an excited citizenry. Many ideas were put forth, with visions of change for all parts of Denton. Part of the meeting included ideas from a pair of guys who have done this in other cities and countries. This is just another personal, correct opinion of mine, but I think Denton is shoulder-deep in just the talent needed to pull off multiple versions of this ideas in areas throughout Denton.
The particulars of these block transformations begin with an idea, followed by the implementation/changing/relaxing/or ignoring of City laws, regulations, and bad ideas. With that groundwork set, the materials needed would be obtained through donations, gifts, deeding, grants, repurposing…….ie, however possible….THEN community work days would allow volunteers to reinvent a block of our town.
If you have been to Europe, think of the bustling pedestrian town centers on a smaller scale…… alive with vegetable/fruit vendors, tiny shops with personality, buskers, bikers, and well-supervised pets. Or think of Pearl Street in Boulder, CO, or Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco………all retaining the “feel” of Denton……. areas changed one block at a time.
I would love to see the four streets surrounding the back side of the Square (Cedar, Walnut, Austin and Pecan Streets) turned into green, shady, pedestrian-only areas where people could rest while shopping, eat, walk and loiter. I mentioned this scenario to my good friend Karen Meredith, owner of Sweetwater Bar and Grill, and she wasn’t too keen on the idea due to the loss of parking, so I do understand there will be different points of view and ideas, but vision has to start somewhere. It seems to me that this overall plan could be a creative, inexpensive way to make Denton an even better place to live than it is already…
There will be follow up and, hopefully follow through on this unique idea. I will keep my ear to the ground and report here as things move forward. In the meantime, what are your thoughts?!!