Downtown Design Plan

The Town of Brattleboro is working on a Downtown Design Plan, which will describe and illustrate the community’s vision for future downtown improvements and projects. This planning process will address:

  • Improving routes, access and circulation for pedestrians and bicyclists;
  • Incorporating green stormwater practices into streets and public spaces;
  • Identifying opportunities for creative placemaking that use arts and cultural activities to enliven and revitalize public spaces; and
  • Enhancing long-term economic stability for downtown businesses.

The Brattleboro Downtown Design Plan project will implement participatory planning techniques – including a pop-up demonstration (the Better Block Challenge in September) and a design charrette (Places for People in October) – to envision and build consensus around future changes to the public spaces and infrastructure in downtown Brattleboro (see study area map).

Better Block Challenge

The Brattleboro Planning Commission is accepting proposals for Better Block projects to be designed and built by community members. The Planning Commission will select three temporary projects to be installed September 20-22 in downtown.


Join with friends, neighbors and colleagues to propose a Better Block project by August 12. For more information, review the application materials and July 16 presentation (see sidebar links or go to bottom of page on your mobile).

Better Block projects could include pop-up shops or eateries, art displays or performances, spaces for games or exercise, improvements to sidewalks and crosswalks, bike lanes or parking, outdoor seating or reading areas, streetscaping and landscaping, changes to building facades, etc. as shown in the examples above (photos courtesy of the Better Block Foundation).

The Better Block approach has been used in more than 100 communities around the country to create walkable/bikeable downtowns, attract customers to downtown businesses and improve quality of life for downtown residents. Learn more at

A Better Block is a temporary project that adds life to underutilized or unwelcoming downtown spaces.

There were some excellent questions asked and answered about the Brattleboro Better Block Challenge at the July 16 kick-off meeting:

  1. Do projects have to meet all the selection criteria to be eligible or competitive? No. We anticipate that most submissions will incorporate elements that respond to 2 or 3 of the five criteria.
  2. Are there any restrictions on how the $500 budget can be spent? No. It could be used for materials, construction costs, programming, etc.
  3. Do the projects have to be removed after the 3-day event? If they are going to be in a public location like on the street or sidewalk, then most likely. If they are going to be somewhere else, then possibly not. We are open to discussing having a temporary installation become longer-term or re-locating an installation to a suitable site where it can be in place longer.
  4. How do I find other people to work with? We have a system for matching up people interested in forming collaborative teams for the Better Block Challenge. Please complete the Match Up Form with your information and then request to see the list of people who have indicated they are interested in participating.