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Author: Nikki Crane
Title: PopUp in the Rock: Southwest District
Category: Justice & equity
Description: Part of a national movement called the "Better Block Project,” PopUp in the Rock’s focus is to create a temporary urban demonstration of what is possible in hopes of inspiring permanent change. The yearly demonstration is organized by three groups: studioMAIN, a nonprofit design collective; Create Little Rock, an organization focused on retaining talent in the city; and AARP Arkansas, an organization focused on closing the age-gap inclusiveness. PopUp empowers the community to advocate for better public design within their neighborhood. In 2019, local businesses reached out to PopUp leaders looking to rebrand the underserved Southwest district of Little Rock. While often overlooked in Central Arkansas, residents and local business owners visualize a thriving, cultural Southwest district that draws tourists to the heart of our state. The PopUp team assisted in turning vision into action by partnering with neighbors and city leaders to demonstrate these ideas. Relying solely on donated time and funds, this project exemplified placemaking to the community as well as the city. Designing solutions to help create a safe and active destination, the tactical urbanism allowed pedestrians to activate the street, which is mostly car-dominated, and experience existing multicultural foods and shops.