Can one small alley in Austin create excitement and innovation for our bright green future? At the Office of Sustainability, we’re convinced that it can.
Neighborhood alleys are a community asset that are often neglected, but can be celebrated and transformed. The Green Alley Initiative is exploring ways to transform alleys from forgotten spaces into sources of neighborhood pride that demonstrate Austin’s commitment to sustainability.
Features in a Green Alley can include improvements designed and constructed by the City, such as pervious pavement, energy-efficient lighting, rain gardens to handle stormwater runoff, informational signage and more. Residents can collaborate to add other features on their alley-facing properties – ideas include vegetable and drought-tolerant gardens with rain barrels, decorative fencing and furniture, local art, address markers, and other unique features with neighborhood character. New plantings can beautify the area, offer fresh produce, and provide food and habitat for birds and other wildlife.
A Green Alley is an attractive place where children play, butterflies thrive, and neighbors visit and share, building strong community ties.
Building on the Alley Flat Initiative at the University of Texas, the Green Alley Initiative also is exploring ways to incorporate small and affordable homes along alleys – secondary dwellings that can allow several generations to live on one site together, or that can produce income to help owners stay in their homes.