Urban Fold

Alley Rally Aims to Examine the City's Forgotten Spaces

In popular culture alleyways are often depicted as the setting for illicit acts. But seen in a different light, alleys are key contributors to urban life. SPUR kicks off a week of alley exploration with an essay on their benefits.

Alleyways are the forgotten, but essential, spaces of city, where the utilitarian functions necessary for facilitating commerce and the delivery of city services take place. As Benjamin Grant explains, they can also be an opportunity for public space. He explores five key elements that alleyways have to offer cities, beyond their utilitarian role: access, sin, art, scale, and gathering.

"At their best, alleys can combine nearly all of these functions, becoming containers for the particular magic of city life: discovery, creative expression, memorable spaces and life lived and celebrated out and about, in one another’s company."

Full Story: Why We Love Alleys

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