THE ACTIVE PASSAGEWAY

WEST PALM BEACH (USA)

Client: West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency
Date: 2017-2019
Status: In Progress
Program: Downtown passageway network reactivation, pilot project for the reactivation of an Alley.
Scope: Pre Design and Schematic Design
Location: West Palm Beach, Florida, Usa

In many North America cities, downtown alleys look unattractive and very often are used exclusively as service areas for deliveries and logistics. However, for their architectural proportions and features, they can be considered as public spaces with a high activation potential. As part of the Open Shore proposal, an activation strategy for the alleys of West Palm Beach Downtown has been developed. The aim of the strategy is to improve the walkability, security and comfort while becoming thematic routes connecting different parts of the city. 

The first phase of the strategy consists in the implementation of a pilot project to transform a section of one of the most promising alleys of the Downtown. It runs parallel to the main street of the city, Clematis St., and, on one of its abutting buildings, an innovative space to boost local entrepreneurship and community life called The Thoroughfare will take place.

After the implementation of preliminary actions as the undergrounding of electricity lines, the improvement of the drainage system, and the introduction of a new garbage collection system, among other, the alley will be ready to change its aspect and citizens would change the perception they have of this space. 

Due to spatial constraints of the intervention area measuring 4 mt/ 14 ft. width, the project focuses on the transformation of its surfaces (pavement and walls) and the introduction of small three-dimensional objects: the multipurpose letters. These elements introduce new activities in the alley while creating new and iconic urban landmarks that contribute to gain visibility and attractiveness. The letters can embed different programs and respond to specific needs. This level of adaptability allows a high degree of customization and a wide range of possibilities. Some of these possibilities include: mobile charging points, pop-up stores, a playground, a climbing wall, outdoor conferences, seating, resting points, projection areas, bioclimatic devices, hotspots, a shared library, bike parking, green spots, among others.

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