Reclaiming the Urban Alley: An Investigation into Hollywood's East Cahuenga Pedestrian Alley's Impact on Community Development
Mentor:Dr. Mona Seymour, Associate Professor of Urban Studies, Loyola Marymount University
Urban alleyways are neglected urban typologies that commonly enable illegal and illicit activities such as prostitution, garbage dumping, and drug use—reoccurrences that perpetuate the alley’s image as a relatively useless space that scars rather than enhances a city’s perceivable landscape. However, cities in the United States such as Santa Cruz, Seattle, and Los Angeles are beginning to reengage the alley and redefine its potential as an agent of community development. This project investigated the impact that alley revitalization has on community development by looking specifically at Hollywood’s recent alley activation endeavor: the East Cahuenga Pedestrian Alley. Through systematic behavioral observations, this study identified the successes and challenges associated with completed urban alley redevelopment projects. The disparity between the large number of subjects who passed through EaCa Alley and the small number of pedestrians recorded in the study’s control alley suggest that urban alley revitalizations can have a positive impact on the community. Moreover, the nature of the activities taking place in the new EaCa Alley reveals that alley activations may play a role in minimizing illicit activities. Additionally, preliminary findings brought to light that the optimization of the alley’s atmosphere may rely heavily on programming that attracts pedestrian presence, such as outdoor dining and street markets.