The alley off of Whyte Avenue between 104th and 105th streets has been blocked off to vehicle traffic and transformed into a colourful and inviting pedestrian plaza. The once drab and dreary alley is now playfully made-over with multicoloured polka dots and hopscotch inviting passersby to linger and have fun with the public space.
“The alley project is a fun, low-cost way to test out and re-imagine different uses and functions for a shared urban space,” said Hani Quan, acting senior planner with Citylab.
The project was a joint initiative between Citylab, the Old Strathcona Business Association and the Old Strathcona Foundation. Citylab is a collaborative planning unit within the City of Edmonton’s sustainable development department that supports and creates small, temporary urban planning projects. They work with community groups to improve and animate shared spaces, connect people to places and each other and to get people talking and engaged with urban planning.
Public engagement activities will happen in August to give residents of Old Strathcona the opportunity to brainstorm and suggest ideas for the best use of the alley space after the pilot initiative. Suggested uses for the space include carnivals, street markets, performances and even an outdoor food court made up of the city’s favourite food truck vendors.
“Transforming the alley into a pedestrian plaza will add to what makes Whyte Avenue great – a place to linger, gather and explore Old Strathcona,” said Quan.
To learn what Citylab is up to next, or to submit a project idea for a public space in your own Edmonton community, visit the Citylab website.