Transforming Alleys from Places of Junk to Joy

Transforming Alleys from Places of Junk to Joy

Transforming Alleys from Places of Junk to Joy

Alleys and laneways can be found in many cities and suburbs. Typically viewed as mundane or even dangerous spaces to rush past, could they do more than store cars and garbage? As cities densify and suburbs search for a sense of place, this question becomes increasingly important. During the summer of 2017, Mitchell Reardon co-led a Vancouver Public Space Network initiative, Laneway Living Rooms, to explore this issue. Using a tactical urbanism lighter, quicker, cheaper approach - and plenty of Metropolitan Collective benchlets - the team transformed two laneways from grimy, unloved spaces into places for people. Grandma's House and Backyard BBQ highlighted how easy it can be to transform alleys and laneways without breaking the bank. Having tested and confirmed the places for people-potential of these alleys, the next step is to make one of them permanent or regularly programmed throughout the summer. Thanks to VIVA Vancouver and the City of Vancouver for the grant to make this possible. And thank you to Miscellany Finds and the Gastown BIA for their support and enthusiasm!