How do other places in the US and abroad made their alleys come alive?
Jenny Kempson and Mary Fialko, under the instruction of Nancy Rottle at the University of Washington Green Futures Lab, spent a semester studying alleys and distilling their learning into a handbook. A handbook: Activating Alleys for a Lively City helps people imagine how their alleys could be lively, healthy, safe and environmentally friendly.
There is growing interest in alleys for professionals, citizens and government.
Back in 2009, French fashion brand Pigalle teamed up with Nike to transform a space between two apartment buildings into a basket ball court. Pagalle teamed with Paris-based lll-Studio, who looked to Russian artist Kazimir Malevich (1878 – 1935) for inspiration. Malevich’s bold colors can be seen in the finished design of panels of blue, white, red and yellow rubber. It is not only great to look at, but it’s also a popular spot for local kids.
Marion, IA (population 37,000) is home to a historic commercial district, which has served as the community’s civic and cultural hub for 176 years. A major streetscape project will disrupt traffic in Uptown Marion, and city leaders are working to help businesses stay afloat during the construction phase. The alleyways will be transformed into welcoming walkways that the community will learn to use prior to the roadwork. Dramatic infrastructure improvements will take place this summer, and once the area has become an attractive canvas, public art will be installed and cultural programming will bring customers to businesses’ back doors. Due to a parking facility with retail and residential space now envisioned for one of the two blocks in the City’s original project area, the focus has shifted to the remaining block, sited at the very heart of Uptown. Several property owners have provided easements to the City so that the open areas adjacent to their buildings can be transformed into vibrant public gathering spaces that will become destinations for pedestrians.