The space between us

Not everyone is on board with shuttering alleyways. /Phoenix Magazine

By Lauren Loftus | Phoenix Magazine

Alleyways have been part of Phoenix’s urban design since the beginning, but they’ve gotten a bad rap along the way. What does the future hold for these dusty passageways?

What’s in an alley? Would that which we call an alley by any other name smell as putrid? And collect old mattresses, grow weeds as tall as a child, and provide dark corners for shady figures to lurk in our cultural consciousness?

Pop culture tells us alleys are places where drug deals and muggings occur. (Batman’s parents were killed in the subtly named Crime Alley, after all.) It seems simple then: Get rid of alleys and you get rid of problems. But in the Phoenix Valley, where hundreds of miles of alleyways snake through older neighborhoods, hiding unsightly community waste bins and utility access points, and providing sheltered shortcuts for pedestrians, not everyone is on board with shuttering these passageways.

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