Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Nord and Post Alleys: The Transformative Nature of Seattle’s Urban Pathways

Alleyways in most cities, and especially cities like Seattle, constitute a percentage of space that is more often than not under used.  Nord and Post Alleys are examples of this space transformed into usable, shared environments.

On a cold and foggy Saturday afternoon we observed these two alleyways.  The contrast of uses and the signs of use are evident through the photos.

These alleys not only provide themselves to the public for use, but also actively invite the public to do so.  Apart from merely providing space, they demonstrate their dynamic nature by inviting users to spend time in them.  In this way, these alleys provide various opportunities for interaction and allow citizens to be both participants and creators of a public urban life in Seattle’s neighborhoods.  
These alleys engage people by drawing upon the appeal of the iconic Pike Place Market and Pioneer Square. Post Alley has been developed over the years to support tourism.  It has become a strong model of the commercial and economic potential of alleyways. Nord Alley appears to cater to local residents.  It provides a space for artistic display and social connection.  In these alleys there are shops and restaurants at which to browse and performers that draw crowds provoking conversation allowing visitors to participate as patrons of local artisans.  People become creators of urban life in various ways; from making a personal contribution to the Gum Wall, admiring local artwork, or just grabbing a bite to eat. 

People appear to be unfazed by the limited amount of space and actually seem to enjoy it. Accidental bumps can become chance encounters and develop into a greater social interaction.

Julie Coronado, Elena Umanskaya, and Dan Fitting 

No comments:

Post a Comment