Alley Activation: Pathways to Urban Revitalization

From Washington D.C to Seattle, Alleys are being re-engineered for the benefits of masses. Generally, alleys are considered as dangerous and dirty but they are moving beyond garages and garbage to turn havens for small business runners, public art and pedestrians.

In the last couple of years, alleys are more or less considered as Public art. Take for the granted, the initiative of Young Nation in the form of southwest Detroit project, upholds the true beauty of art gallery.

It goes without saying that in 2013, Andy Sturdevant writer-artist showcased his “Alley Atlas” at the Minneapolis institute of art. He opines that “What if we could rename and call it Minneapolis’ alleys?” He further says that in the 1920s alleys were supposed to be residential places but after 1960s the administration of Minneapolis destroyed a big number of city’s alleys.

Elfreth’s Alley in Philadelphia clearly states that they are too old. Prior to 17th century, they were considered as public spaces. Technically speaking, the word “Alley” is almost 600 years old. This word is derived from the French terminologies “Alee” which means passage or walking.

It is said that pre-automobiles cities across the globe had historic alleys. They were only designed for the people. There were restaurants, bars, houses, parks, stores etc.  This trend is reviving now. Most of the cities are trying to activate or re-activate their alleys for making them human- space places and cities from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C are worth citing examples in this regard.

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