Councilmember Clark left office on April 14, 2015.
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Greener alleys for all

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Last week I had the great opportunity to announce winners of the Green Alleys Competition, part of Nord Alley Party VI in Pioneer Square.  Todd Vogel, an urban spaces advocate and Allied Arts stalwart, has combined forces with others dedicated to great urban spaces for the previous alley parties behind his building in Pioneer Square. The results are both one-night events and on-going installations in the alley.  If you walk the alley behind Elliott Bay Books, you’re in Todd’s alley.  Look up and you see plastic bottles hanging in the sky spelling out WASTE NOT. That’s a great message about plastic bottles, but also about what we sometimes treat as throw-away urban spaces — like alley ways.  In an effort to change how we think about alleys, Todd joined with the Pioneer Square Community Association, American Institute of Architects, City of Seattle, Downtown Seattle Association, People for Puget Sound, Feet First and the International Sustainability Institute to invite creative ideas for making alleys more usable and “kinder” to Puget Sound.

The party held last Thursday night to coincide with First Thursday was musical, jovial and well-fed with a table down the center of the alley, light warming the space as darkness fell, and live music. Design ideas ranged from simply using pervious paving in alleys up to building platforms and sky bridges to create shops and work spaces.  It’s hard for me to envision doing the latter, but I do like the idea of infiltrating alleys with shops, light and people. All sorts of practical questions about garbage and delivery services arise, but practicalities aren’t what alley parties are for.

Check out the winners (beware: these are jumbo-sized files for download):

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