The city looks to the dank gaps between buildings for “vibrant new spaces.”

When you peer into a downtown Seattle alley, you might see rats and people sleeping in dumpsters. That could change, however, as the city plans to turn some of these airless holes into charming, plant-filled utopias.

This week the Department of Transportation outlined renovations to three alleys that, to believe the hype, will create “vibrant new spaces in which community members can gather.” Though the agency doesn’t give a finishing date, it says construction will commence “soon,” writing:

While many of the improvements won’t be easily visible, as they will be located under freshly laid brick and pavement, area residents will surely take note of the new materials, planters, lighting and other amenities that will turn these utilitarian passageways into inspiring and enlivening elements of the city. In fact, this past year, we were able to catch a preview of things to come as Nord Alley played host to several World Cup viewing parties. As you can see below, these parties were quite the hit. We can only imagine the possibilities for these spaces after renovations are complete!

Here’s a photo from one of those soccer events, proving yet again that Seattleites above all others love their alleys:

SDOT

But that alley still looks rough around the edges. Let’s move to the transportation department’s bright, shining future, as depicted in these renderings. Seriously, who wouldn’t want to pick up their things and immediately move into these wonderful places?

Canton Alley
Nord Alley (SvR Design/Olson Kundig Architects)
Pioneer Passage (SvR Design/Olson Kundig Architects)

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Rescue crews and observers on top of the rubble from a collapsed building that fell in the Condesa neighborhood of Mexico City.
    Environment

    A Brigade of Architects and Engineers Rushed to Assess Earthquake Damage in Mexico City

    La Casa del Arquitecto became the headquarters for highly skilled urbanists looking to help and determine why some buildings suffered more spectacularly than others.

  2. Equity

    What the New Urban Anchors Owe Their Cities

    Corporations like Google and Amazon reap the spoils of winner-take-all urbanism. Here’s how they can also bear greater responsibility.

  3. Transportation

    Why Are Little Kids in Japan So Independent?

    In Japan, small children take the subway and run errands alone, no parent in sight. The reason why has more to do with social trust than self-reliance.

  4. A LimeBike is pictured next to a Capital Bikeshare dock.
    Transportation

    Bike Share, Unplanned

    Three private bike-share companies are determined to shake up the streets of D.C. But what, exactly, are they trying to disrupt?

  5. Equity

    Here Is Everything Wrong With 'Bodega,' the Startup That Destroys Bodegas

    We made you a list.