Turning Asphalt Alleys Into “Livable Laneways”

Vancouver's "country lanes" replace asphalt alleys with honeycomb cells filled with grass and two concrete strips, plus cobblestone drives, to reduce permeable pavement and create a pleasing aesthetic in its alleyways. Image: ##http://spacing.ca/national/2013/07/29/converting-alleyways-to-livable-laneways-and-country-lanes/##Spacing.ca##

They don’t call it the most livable city in the world for nothing. Even the alleyways in Vancouver are community gathering places. That’s because about ten years ago, the city of Vancouver launched an initiative aimed at converting garbage strewn alleys into “livable laneways.”

An unconverted Vancouver alleyway. Image: ##http://spacing.ca/national/2013/07/29/converting-alleyways-to-livable-laneways-and-country-lanes/##Spacing.ca##

The results, well, they sort of speak for themselves, says Jillian Glover at Spacing Canada:

According to resident Mike Klassen, whose home backs one of these country lanes, it has brought together his east side community. Neighbours are expected to maintain the space.

“It’s not a place where people feel they can dump their old couches and garbage,” he says in the National Post. “It became a gathering place for many of us over the summers. We’ve held barbecues there.”

Imagine if today’s alleyways all looked like this, backed by increasingly popular laneway homes and garages converted to artist’s studios or wo/man caves ;), with children meeting from around the neighbourhood to play.

In one of the world’s most expensive cities where space is at a premium, alleys serving as country lanes would be a much more effective use of space than the current single-purpose, service lane for garbage trucks and cars.

Elsewhere on the Network today: The Green Lane Project says Memphis hopes to use cycling to connect low-income residents to jobs. Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space attempts to define the key ingredients of an inclusive city. And Mobilizing the Region reports that Connecticut plans to spend the equivalent of its entire annual federal transportation allocation expanding three miles of a single highway.

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