Guerrilla placemaking is a concept involving the take-over of a neglected space in town and turning it into a usable space that contributes to the community around it. In April of 2013 an alley initiative dubbed "20' Wide" took over an alley in downtown Austin for two days and made it into a gathering place complete with seating, art exhibits and performances. The success of this example of guerrilla placemaking has led to thoughts about those neglected and perhaps overlooked areas of urban infill throughout town.
Imagine all of the overlooked residual spaces throughout town that could be made into a beneficial part of the community - the underused alleys, triangular medians in city right of way, abandoned or condemned buildings. Not many people know this but the City of Austin has a program to develop these spaces, all it takes is some neighborhood activism and an architect who can graphically present the idea and sell it to the city. The city calls it the Neighborhood Partnering Program and if approved the city will contribute 60% towards funding the project through public money.
The Guadalupe Neighborhood Association in Central East Austin has put together a viable proposal for developing a portion of alley between 8th and 9th Streets. According to neighborhood leaders it's set to become a reality quite soon. Since our East Austin Architecture office is close to the project we will monitor the progress and update this blog as developments occur.