Their nature is that of an active afterthought. Alley equaling Access to something. Alley equaling Connection to intent. Alley equaling Space set aside for the present's purpose. They exist as a usable remnant of the past. Something built then and used now. Our landscape and relationships within it constantly change.
Former canal boat unloading zones have become tenant parking. Room for sewer line maintenance has become a back patio. Alleys reflect opportunity manifest. Reminders that everything can be re-imagined and any under-utilized nook can be brought back to life. Existing energy can be remixed, so history can be carried into the future, simultaneously creating something both old and new.
A town is made of people and their efforts. The sum and the parts evolve over time, not unlike a river meandering or forest in succession. Labels erected to define the "built environment" against the "natural world" do us few favors. Things are more connected. It's all nature.
How might we reactivate dormant community spaces? How might we respectfully design our towns in ways that recognize all inhabitants and their place in a grander whole? Alleys can remind us of our shared and changing nature.
What would you like to create in the community and when do you want to get started on it? All around us, resources and inspiration are in bloom. Everything is already changing, so we might as well kick off our shoes, get to the harvest, and meet back up later to share stories at the potluck.