What? The San Francisco Planning Department describes the concept of Living Alleys as “urban living rooms”: places to gather, play and reflect. The concept, which draws inspiration from Better Streets Plan, the Parklet Program, Green Connections and the Sidewalk Landscape Program, was imagined as an improvement for the city’s Market Octavia Neighborhood as part of the 2007 Area Plan.
In this Living Alleys Toolkit the San Francisco Planning Department lays out 7 considerations to evaluate before initiating any Living Alley project including hydraulics, underground utilities and accessibility. The toolkit includes the Planning Department’s evaluation of these challenges according to standards and regulations in San Francisco but the principles and questions raised can be practiced and applied in any region.
Why? Living Alleys have become an increasingly popular way to create small urban spaces that prioritize pedestrian usability through placemaking. Projects may include art installations, community gardens or landscaping, stages and outdoor seating.
This Toolkit is a great resource for urban planners, civically minded residents and architects alike. The goals and strategies laid out within the Toolkit can help make any public space more livable, vibrant and accessible.