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Municipal Equation is a podcast about cities and towns in changing times.

Brought to you by the N.C. League of Municipalities.

Host, producer, music: Ben Brown. 

Jul 18, 2017

When you think of downtown alleys, what comes to mind? Bad associations, maybe? The place to avoid at night? Ever since childhood, Americans have had the general impression that alleyways are dark, dirty, dangerous -- the right setting for noir crime stories. And that might often be the case. But some U.S. cities are starting to embrace their alleys like assets -- as places to be -- with art, lighting, planters, seating and cleanliness. Inviting spaces that pedestrians can use to cut from block to block. Some alleyway owners even hold weekend events in them. There's a lot you can do to sweep out the bad associations and boost charm and use, if you want to. What could you do with your downtown alleys? You'll hear tons of ideas and considerations on this intercontinental episode. Show notes: Peter Gorman, "A Guide to Value Added Alleys" - Allison Meier, Hyperallergic, "LED Street Art Lights Up a Dark, Dodgy Alley in Philadelphia" - Wilson, Artsy Alleys - Wilson Times, "Project adds color to downtown alleys" -,88759 Shelby Star, "Local scout takes on alley beautification for Eagle Scout Project" - "Alleys in Urban Design: History and Application" - Public art episode followups (thanks for sending these!): Monroe, La., News Star "'Wish you were here'! Artists paint postcard-style murals in the Twin Cities," Wilmington, N.C., Star-News, "Public art in New Hanover Co. spurs both aesthetic and economic activity, backers say" - Durham, N.C., Herald-Sun, "New public art in Durham coming to a corner near you?" And some vintage stranger-danger vids: "Don't Talk to Strangers" - "Dangerous Stranger" - "Never Be A Victim" -