In 2012 following the outcome of one-day tactical urbanism street makeover event, called Better Block FTL organized and design by Cadence, property owner Doug McCraw found renewed vision and interest in his property. Witnessing the community’s desire for change and yearning for creatively designed outdoor space, Mr. McCraw commissioned Cadence in 2013 to develop a master plan for FATVillage Art District’s primary street, NW 1st Avenue. Design budgets developed at the concept phase for the 600 LF of city block were estimated at 1.8 million.
This streetscape vision utilized the context of the area and the historic importance the railway uses to connect community and commerce. The space is designed to make visitors slow down and connect with their surroundings, outside of their automobile. NW 1st Avenue is currently a destination for Fort Lauderdale residents and visitors monthly for art walks, a hub for local artists and creative businesses. The master plan draws on the areas existing assets, retaining some warehouse structures utilizing adaptive reuse methods, highlights the street murals already prevalent in the area, nurtures existing artists projects space and orchestrates spaces to enhance these collaborations in an outdoor environment.
The street is a living street, flexible in design. It works for everyday use as a vibrant city street servicing the buildings, providing safe transit for automobile, bike and pedestrian. The new streetscape will come to life with over 28 new street trees and ample space devoted to rain garden design, mitigating storm water run-off. By night the space will transform into 600 linear feet of outdoor gallery and urban promenade. Event visitors will experience a venue that accommodates pockets of gathering space, various styles of art, outdoor vendors, native plantings and food trucks. The addition of this streetscape to downtown Fort Lauderdale will offer community members a new idea of what their city streets can offer them. With a new urban design materiality on display, FATVillage Streetscape will be a model for resilient design, specific to place.