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Community Open Space Initiatives: Nihonmachi

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Light in the Alley

Arielle Farina Clark

The alleys of Nihonmachi have immense potential. They could function as important pedestrian oriented spaces that connect various locations and provide

Existing Conditions

open space for the residents and visitors of Nihonma- chi. However, they are currently cluttered with dump- sters, tiled with a menagerie of paving remnants, and often times dead ending. All of these current conditions contribute to the unsafe al- leyway environment that plays host to a number of il- licit activities such as prosti- tution, drug dealing and drug use. Precedents

This project entitled “A Light in the Alley: A Triptych of Safer Connections” focus- es on revitalizing the three north/south running alleys between 5th and 7th Ave- nues and Main and Jackson streets while maintaining the small scale, off-the-main- path feel that make alleys exciting. The design concept is based on cleansing the alleys of dumpsters, illumi-

nating and repaving the spaces with simple, elegant cobblestone, and reorienting certain business and residential egresses to face the alleys. Each of these treatments plays a vital role in the recovery of the al- leys as great, usable spaces.

Without dumpsters in the alleys there will be fewer places for derelicts to conceal illegal and socially in- appropriate actions. In Pioneer Square the dumpster free program was implemented with beneficial results. Residents and business owners have reported that crime in the district has gone down, that alleys are per- ceived as more safe and are more frequently used by the general public.

Illumination of the alleys would further the perception that they are safe spaces to be in. The lamps would

also function as an iconic feature that distinguishes the neighborhood from others. Repaving the alleys differ- entiates the space from the street, simplifies the look,

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