Pioneer Square’s Alley Network Project

World Cup Alley - Credit Jordan Lewis

By International Sustainability Institute

Have you recently stumbled into a Pioneer Square alley to surprisingly find an art installation, hanging flower baskets or even an event? Pioneer Square’s alleys continue to be rediscovered by locals and tourists alike. The International Sustainability Institute, a not-for-profit organization based in Pioneer Square, has been leading an effort with countless neighbors, businesses, colleagues and community groups to transform Pioneer Square’s alleys into one of its unrivaled assets.

Why Alleys? Alleys offer the opportunity for Pioneer Square to boost healthy activity on its streets, feed its vibrant arts culture, and draw people to local businesses. Besides, they’re also great walking paths. The scale of the buildings, narrow alley passageways and architecture make Pioneer Square’s alleys visually alluring and a place of discovery. A study conducted by Copenhagen-based Gehl Architects, considered world-leaders at placemaking, identified Seattle alleys as having the potential to be great pedestrian spaces.

Neighborhood residents and businesses also recognize the potential. Since the first Nord Alley party in 2008, numerous alley activation efforts have sprouted up in Pioneer Square. Nord Alley has held nearly 100 events with more than 5,000 people in attendance.Thanks to the many partners and sponsors, the Nord Alley featured the Tour d’Alley this past July, a 3-week viewing of the Tour de France at lunchtime. This free viewing open to the public attracted hundreds of people, and many came day after day.

By leveraging funds from government, private foundations, and local businesses and tying together a wide variety of people-public space experts, community organizers, marketing professionals and students-Pioneer Square is working together to create great public spaces. If you live or work on a block in Pioneer Square and are eager to activate your alley, we encourage you to meet your neighbors and explore ideas. Contact for more information and to get involved.

Stay tuned for the latest alley news and events by following the Alley Network Project blog and facebook sites. Have fun exploring the alleys!


Photo Credits – Top: Jordan Lewis; Bottom: Constance Brinkley

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2 Responses to Pioneer Square’s Alley Network Project

  1. carolyn hall says:

    hi. I am a recent transplant to a Pioneer Square residence, but a long time Seattlite. When I moved here, I immediately begin thinking of how to transform the alley behind my building into a pedestrian place. It is a beautiful alley with potential for gardens, artist designed benches, etc. I imagined a complete vision for my alley. I was excited when I learned others were already doing this. I would very much like to meet with someone to talk further about this. I live in the Corona building, on 2nd, between Cherry and James. It has a gorgeous brick alley.
    I am also faculty at Cornish College of the Arts, and am certain that some art students would be interested in working on an alley design project.

    Thank you

  2. info says:

    Thanks for your interest, Carolyn! We’ve alerted the people at the International Sustainability Institute – they should get in touch with you soon!

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