Canada continues to demonstrate why all of the top five most livable cities in the Americas are within its borders. Vivian Moreau brings us this story on Victoria‘s alleys and laneways. After giving an interesting example of an alley cottage, she says that alleys are making a comeback in Victoria. A number of developments, designed by people who remember playing hockey in back alleys, are including these, not because they wish to be social engineers, but because they are actually in demand. There are a variety of ways to develop alleys, including using grass and pavers similar to a Christopher Alexander pattern. They also can be used as a means to create affordable housing. Langford allows garage apartments and carriage houses as part of their affordable housing initiative. Vancouver has recently adopted similar standards. Victoria, which, due a lack of existing alleys and a development pattern that doesn’t allow for their easy implementation, is considering what they are calling “garden suites,” units at the rear of homes, whether or not the home backs onto an alley. Alleys are a very useful and versatile tool in the planner’s belt, and should be better used in American cities. Canada can, yet again, provide us with a good model to follow.
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