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Seattle Plans to Turn Its Dark Alleys Into Bright Community Hubs

More than just a facelift, the project will transform “utilitarian passageways into inspiring and enlivening elements of the city.”

Pioneer Passage, via Seattle DOT/SvR Design/Olson Kundig Architects

Most people, when they hear the word “alley,” probably conjure to mind dark, dirty—and yes, occasionally dangerous—pathways that thread between buildings like urban arteries, relegated to disrepair from years of neglect and misuse. Alleys, for all their municipal usefulness, are simply not thought of as places where most city-dwellers would choose to spend their time. Planners in Seattle, however, want to reclaim their city’s alleyways for the greater good, not simply as off-street storage for dumpsters and delivery trucks, but as friendly, walkable paths and gathering spaces for neighborhood communities.

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