Jason Roberts

Better cities, better communities, begin by improving one block at a time.

Arts Activist and Co-Creator of the Better Block Project

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Jason Roberts | Arts Activist and Co-Creator of the Better Block Project
Lavin Exclusive Speaker

Do you have a dream for your community? Maybe it’s bike lanes, or a better transit system, or more outdoor cafes. Arts activist Jason Roberts had a similar vision—and he took it upon himself to make it happen. Enter the Better Block Project, a community-driven temporary takeover of blighted blocks. This one-time phenomenon in Southern Dallas has since grown into an international movement, and Roberts is at the forefront of it all. 

“The Better Block Project would make Jane Jacobs proud.”

GOOD Magazine

Roberts is the founder of the Oak Cliff Transit Authority, originator of the Better Block Project, co-founder of the Art Conspiracy and Bike Friendly Oak Cliff, and recent candidate for US Congress. In 2006, Jason formed the non-profit organization, Oak Cliff Transit Authority, to revive the Dallas streetcar system, and later spearheaded the city’s effort in garnering a $23 Million dollar TIGER stimulus grant from the FTA to help reintroduce a modern streetcar system to Dallas. In 2010, Jason organized a series of “Better Block” projects, taking depressed blocks with vacant properties in Southern Dallas and converting them into temporary walkable districts with pop-up businesses, bike lanes, cafe seating, and landscaping. The project has now become an international movement and has been featured in The New York Times, Dwell magazine, and on NPR. Roberts has spoken at TEDx Austin and Oklahoma and is the recipient of the Champions of Change award in Washington DC for work in Transportation Innovations.


“Jason Roberts was fantastic. He was a wonderful to work with and a fantastic speaker. Thank you for making it possible to connect with him right away. He had a firm understanding of the event and was a success.”

Stoked Events/Summit at the Pier

“Jason, your talk at Convention was even more than we could have hoped for—engaging, passionate, rousing, and uplifting. It really set the tone for the two days and got the event off to a flying start. Feedback from delegates has also been uniformly fantastic, and cited as a highlight by individuals more than anything else (sample feedback: ‘Jason was an incredible inspiration, very engaging’; ‘In my opinion Jason Roberts was the most inspiring man I have ever listened to. Outstanding!’).”

Locality Convention

Speech Topics

Build a Better Block How to Make Real Change in Your Community, Today
How can we drive change in our communities and move past unproductive committees and outdated regulation? How do we become the “bike part of town” and revitalize stagnant blocks? In this funny, smart, energetic, and breathless talk, arts activist Jason Roberts of the Better Block Project encourages us to stop waiting around. Even if that means painting in our own crosswalks, bringing in our own trees, and blackmailing ourselves into action.