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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Video Vancouver: Alleyway Revitalization

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Video Vancouver

Via Conversation That Matters

Re-Imagine Alleys in a major city for just a minute.

Can you do it?

They’re generally grungy, dark, dank places that you never want to enter let alone think about.

Well, think again, Ackery’s Alley and Alley Oop are two back lanes that have been transformed from forgotten spaces where – during the day -the trash gets picked up and deliveries are made – and – at night are the stomping grounds of dumpster divers, drug users and sex trade workers.

In downtown Vancouver there are approximately 240 alleys – that’s about 180-thousand square meters of publically owned land. Reclaiming those public spaces in an ever expanding city is a needed improvement.

Yes, you heard that right – public space. And I know you’re asking for whom?

Well you and me and Korean pop-stars.

You may have seen the YouTube sensation where the K-Pop group ‘Twice’ used the refurbished Alley Oop as one of it’s Vancouver backdrops. When I wrote this intro there were just shy of 76 million views, they surely know how to get more subscribers on Youtube.

Density is forcing us to find space, but more importantly it’s forcing us to be innovators in the creation of liveable space.

We sat down with Charles Gauthier of the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association to ask him what was the motivation for this project, why it’s important and what the value is to all of us who call the city home – not just the businesses he represents.

We also talk to Alexandra Kenyon of the design firm HCMA, why did they leap at the opportunity to donate their services to this project? What does it say about the way we’re reshaping downtown.

And we also sat down with Alex Beim, the artist who sees revitalized alleys as a way to get people to actually interact and talk to one another for a Conversation That Matters about alleyways as public spaces.