Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Unusual Alleyscapes

Delia Lacson

Alleyways are the secret corridors of urban life. Originally designed for utilitarian purposes of access and sanitation, many alley corridors have become underused and neglected spaces. Alleys can provide more than just pedestrian friendly shortcuts and hiding places for garbage and power lines between streetscapes. More recently, the alley has emerged, driven primarily by citizen initiatives and ad hoc community adaptations, as an important element in the neighborhood fabric. Perhaps it is because alleys were intentionally designed as semi-hidden corridors that they have become a safe haven for informal alternative approaches to community open space within the urban fabric. Several cities, including Seattle, are actively repurposing shared alley spaces. The alley corridor can be productive, dynamic and picturesque- reflective of the communities that are redefining them as gathering spaces, gardens and art galleries.

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