Jason Roberts

Always on the go, Roberts is involved in myriad projects and groups in Oak Cliff and around Dallas. Photo courtesy Jason Roberts

Much has been written about community activist, urban planning enthusiast, and Oak Cliff resident Jason Roberts. His energy is infectious as he spreads the gospel of urban revitalization around the world: building better neighborhoods by transforming vacant and underused properties into vibrant, thriving blocks abuzz with business, activity, and local participation.

His Better Block concept started in spring 2010 in a small part of North Oak Cliff, where Roberts asked the questions, “why are these buildings vacant and what can we do to rapidly transform them in days, not years, into bike- and pedestrian-friendly places that people love?”

The answer was a rapidly planned weekend project that created pop-up shops, filling underused or vacant spaces with the businesses he wished the area had: coffee shops, flower shops, and cafes, among others.

Better Block has since gone from a local experiment to a national and international model for urban redevelopment that showcases the possibilities in a neighborhood, no matter its current state.


Lots of young folks moving to Oak Cliff are looking for a charming older home with great bones. They’re looking for fixer-uppers, diamonds in the rough, and plenty of room for sweat equity.

To me, however, that sounds like a lot of work. (If that makes me sound lazy, well, color me guilty.)

If I were looking for a home in Oak Cliff, I’d snag one of these adorable Winnetka Heights Craftsman bungalows where someone else has poured in the blood, sweat, and trips to the hardware store so I don’t have to. So you can see why 122 S. Rosemont Ave. is so appealing to me. And at $229,000, it is an incredible value.

Nevermind the curb appeal. I love the bright colors on the siding! It has so much character and literally makes me smile just by looking at it. I love the attention to detail, especially with the dentil trim and the railings on the adorable front porch.

Inside it’s just as bright and easy on the eyes. The living room is incredibly well lit and has a cute fireplace, too. There are wonderful and well-preserved built-ins, and French doors, too. I am sure Crystal Gonzalez of David Griffin & Company Realtors loved how much light and impact this home lends right when prospective buyers walk through the door!


Of course, I gauge a lot of my feelings about a home after seeing the kitchen. This house is no slouch in that department, with a top-to-bottom remodel including stainless fixtures, granite, tile, and super clean cabinets.


Both baths in this three-bedroom, two-bath home have been updated, too. There’s new hardwoods throughout, and fully redone electrical. If you’re buying a home that was built in the 1920s, you’re going to want to have a professional rewire it as this has been.

Now, the backyard has a great little deck, but otherwise it’s a blank slate. I can see some enterprising amateur gardener taking this on and turning it into a blanket of color. It’d be a great place for a chicken coop, too!

A word about the neighborhood: Winnetka Heights is probably one of the most active neighborhoods in all of Dallas. It is very well organized and has a Facebook page that’s more like a soundingboard than a neighborhood group. Because it’s a city-designated Historic District, you can count on stability as far as what the homes around you are going to look like in 10 or 20 years.

Also, there’s been a resurgence in parental participation in Oak Cliff schools, and for parents of young kids there’s the Rosemont Early Childhood PTA, which is the oldest PTA in the state of Texas.

Add to that the close proximity to the Bishop Arts District and West Davis Street, as well as the growing and changing Jefferson Boulevard area and, well, all you need is a new bike and you’ll never have to leave 75208!