This placemaking project takes place in an alley, in Santa Monica, CA. However, this alley is different. This alley is the front porch for nearly 45 people and those people cross each other’s paths on a daily basis. This alley is presently being transformed into a place of relationships, idea exchange and fun moments. This alley project is a process in dedication, vulnerability and my personal faith that my vision for my community is one that can be shared with those that live around me.
When one thinks of an alley, images of trash, drug addicts, abandoned cars and even 5ft weeds might come to light. As you can see from the image on the following page, the Ocean Park Place alley is a boring and static place. However, it contains tremendous, hidden opportunities for a new kind of space that can bridge the gap between back doors and community activity. If the residents take advantage of the opportunity it will offer an openness that can counter the most hardened ideas of our time –– the belief that we are separate from those around us, when in fact we all desire the same thing: companionship. The simple act of changing the alley from an automobile-friendly zone to a people friendly zone would have untold positive consequences. There is a “need for stimulation”, a need to “experience people” who “offer a wealth of sensual variation” as opposed to the drudgery of experiencing only buildings and inanimate objects. We as people need other people to stimulate us and color our lives, make it more attractive, make our routine more colorful and meaningful. This need is often neglected in urban settings like this alley and I have begun here to change this fact.