UBC Graduate Research

Alleys for the Pedestrian : Redefining the Alley in Vancouver's Downtown Ratzlaff, Jenna


This thesis looks to explore the role of the alley which has become the small, dirty and forgotten space of the urban city. Alleys and streets used to be for pedestrians to walk and children to play; however, over the years they have transitioned into spaces to hide the utilitarian and less attractive functions in the city. They have become spaces for the automobile and garbage. As cities grow every inch of land will become even more important and spaces that are not being used to their fullest potential will need to be rethought. Currently, the pandemic that we are all experiencing has revealed, more now then ever, how important it is for our cities to have public space that pedestrians can walk and bike through and exercise and relax in. The world has seen a significant shift in how we use space in cities, how important public space is (especially for those who don’t have a private back yard) and the idea that fewer personal vehicles are needed in our cities. Realizing that our new “normal” of living may include social distancing guidelines and an increase in remote jobs it is imperative that we consider a new “normal” for our streets and alleys. If a greater importance is given to the health and mobility of pedestrians what does this mean for our streets and alleys? Could they be re-imagined and given back to the pedestrian? This thesis looks to analyze the opportunities urban alleys in downtown Vancouver hold and the ways in which they could give the pedestrian more public and green spaces that provide connections across downtown Vancouver.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International