Building a well-connected community isn't an obvious feat in a transient town like Fort Lauderdale. In a city where vacationers flock and snow birds live at semi-permanent addresses, there are still opportunities to transform Fort Lauderdale into an interesting place to settle and live.
Revel on the Block, a pop-up street festival taking place in the FAT Village art hub on July 27, was organized with a vision of bolstering a stronger community through gathering residents, local businesses and artists together to meet as neighbors.
This day-long event is modeled off the international movement Better Block, in which founder Jason Roberts broke ground with his ethos: if we build it, they will come. The idea stems from revitalizing a city or a block by setting up a temporary landscape including temporary plazas, street trees, benches, pop-up parks and businesses, all of which serve to show onlookers what this particular block would look like if it were redeveloped.
The vision evolves from a sketch of a dream city, and is thus transformed into a tactical urban improvement, for the day.
Event organizers Cadence, C&I Studios and helium creative (lower case is intentional) teamed up to put on this bi-annual effort, the first Revel occurred in January of this year.
Rebecca Bradley of urban design firm Cadance shared the inspiration behind Revel: "Festivals and community events forge real community connection. We over-connect virtually, but what about making those social media connections work for things that matter in reality," she says.
"Providing a festival or pop-up street scene that encourages the community to be a part of the event, exposes people to new ideas and provides comfortable spaces for relaxing and socializing."
From an urban design perspective, Bradley explains the value in building upon an area's tangible assets.
"When starting the design process we rely on what existing assets are in place that just need to be re-imagined to make the area even more interesting," she says. "In FAT Village, (there are) existing historical warehouses, an already imbedded arts scene and residents close by looking to make the neighborhood even better."
The urban shindig will offer attendees live musical performances by Lauderdale-based Corey Bost at 2 p.m., jazz darling Joel DaSilva and the Midnight Howl will play at 7:00 p.m., and Miami-based Steph Taylor goes on at 10:00 p.m.
The event lineup will also include a wrap-up performance at 9:00 p.m. by Fort Lauderdale-based Play Your City, a public piano project, and a performance art show by artist Richard Vergez.
Food trucks and a series of local businesses will set up shop for the day in the district's warehouses and along the street.
According to Bradley, "It's important for us all to really connect face-to-face and get to know our neighbors - that's what a real community does," she says.
"The purpose of showing a (future) vision of the area through a bi-annual event (like this) is to see real change occur, to generate real improvements to our downtown."
Revel on the Block takes place on Saturday, July 27, from 2:00 to 11:00 p.m. Visit www.revelontheblock.com for more information.