The in between spaces

by Wendy Tsao Hoffman

Location: Fremont Ave N, between N 34th Ave and N 35th St.

Between the quaint stores and restaurants in Fremont lies a micro-urbanism space we all experienced before, the alleyway, a space that defines the separation of two structures. Frequently Alleyways are seen as left over space, exists only to make a physical break and where unpleasant activities like bumping waste occur. However, this small space is an important “everyday urban environment”; it contains characteristics and activities that are pertinent to our daily lives. Instead of hiding its existence, Freemont utilize the alleyway space and made it functional which in turn gives the space its own character. I explore two alleyways facing each other but separated by the Fremont St., the main road that consist most vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The alleyways are a continuation of each other due to the way blocks were grided, however, they possess very different qualities and traits due to the surrounding environment. The alley to the right of Fremont St. is located between a local Tai restaurant and the Sonic Boom record store. It is line with numerous dumpsters along the wall of the restaurant, however, Sonic Boom also use the alley way as the entrance to the annex of the record store. On the opposite side of the street, the appearance of the alley way is dramatically different then the one formerly described. Situated between Blue Sea Sushi and Starbucks, both well know enterprises, Starbucks then took the chance to turn the alley way into a pleasant space for their customers, putting chair and tables there to make it pedestrian friendly. The attempt is to compare the characteristics of the individual alleyways and further explore the possibility of creative reuses and transformation of this space in the future.

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Micro Urbanism

The term “micro-urbanism” describes small-scale urban spaces and design interventions that enable a wide variety of activities, events, processes and functions to take place. It also involves ways to reinterpret the urban landscape. As a class project, the purpose for creating this Guide is to bring attention to aspects of our everyday environment that are important but often neglected parts of the urban experiences.

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