Jelled by recent public presentations and early Spring weather, late February Seattle is alive with the prospect of enhanced street life and the need for perceived safety among prospective street users.
Foreign inspiration from Denmark and Australia has defined a potential first step–dumpster removal, simple addition of patio furniture and other inexpensive implements to enhance use of improved alleys–all to exemplify how to reclaim public spaces.
The Seattle Times‘ “Sketcher”, Gabriel Campanario recently highlighted Nord Alley in Pioneer Square as evidence of the possible, and noted AIA-Seattle’s “green alleys competition” will unveil winners on March 4.
Indeed, regulatory barriers, property rights and maintenance issues are negotiable by motivated parties. City guidance for alley enhancement is readily available.
Seattle is poised to move from the setting of Pompeii’s past to the “laneways” of Melbourne.
What qualities might Seattle adapt from afar to implement “laneways”, enhance public space and create its own “post-modern Post Alleys”?
Here, in the first of a series, myurbanist proposes seven initial qualities, mindful of context, climate and topography.
1. Emphasize an alluring focal point.
2. Use hanging green.
3. Use simple, green plantings and encourage ornamental building features in the path of view.
4. Where possible, enhance multi-level exposure to vernacular buildings amid the urban fabric.
6. Celebrate exotic signage.
7. Provide for a multi-color, mixed use environment.