This effort could yield some cool results. The idea is in focus as Art Alliance Austin will feature in April an alley installation adjacent to the Austin Club.
Councilmember Tovo’s office is capturing the attention of downtown stakeholder groups, including Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association and the Downtown Commission, which has spun off a working group, for consideration of a masterplan for downtown Austin’s alleyways.
“Traditionally [alleys] are associated with garbage collection and can be associated with crime,” Tovo says “so, there’s the notion of kind of taking another look at them and really thinking about what kind of potential they might bring to our downtown area.” – KUT News
Repurposing alleys is not a new idea, and many cities around the world have embraced them as valuable real estate.
In fact, the concept for revitalizing downtown alleys has come before Austin City Council at least once before. Back in 1971, architect David Graeber proposed repurposing the alleys behind 6th Street, from the Driskill Hotel to Waller Creek.
“By establishing cafes, boutiques, business offices and unusual shops, the alley could be a major economic stimulant to the downtown area. Businesses could face either the alley or 6th Street, or more advantageously, both.” – David Graeber
[Image credit Art Alliance Austin/Creative Action and TBG/Dan Cheetham (Fyoog) and Michelle Tarsney]