Word of the Month: Sploosh

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The Dime Alley Restoration Project

Dime Alley, a one-way alley in Long Beach, California, is undergoing a restorative project to improve its safety, cleanliness, beauty, and engagement. The project is led by the Long Beach Community Design Center (LBCDC), a nonprofit organization that provides pro bono urban planning and design assistance to community-based organizations. The project also involves the collaboration of HED Los Angeles, a full-service architecture and engineering firm, O.C.E.A.N Org LB, a grassroots nonprofit entity that promotes equity through creativity, and the Dime Alley Resident Community, a group of local residents who live along the alley.

The project aims to repurpose the alley as a place that celebrates the multicultural heritage and identity of the neighborhood, as well as addresses the challenges of illegal dumping, insufficient lighting, lack of greenery, flooding, loitering, and public urination. The project follows a holistic placemaking approach that integrates public art, green infrastructure, stormwater management, traffic calming, and community gathering spaces. The project also engages the residents throughout the process to solicit their input and feedback on the vision and design of the alley.

The project is inspired by precedents such as the Superkilen Urban Park in Copenhagen, Denmark, which showcases objects and artworks from different cultures around the world, and the Bradley Plaza and Green Alley Project in Sunland, California, which transforms an alley into a green space that captures and infiltrates polluted stormwater runoff. The project proposes to divide the alley into smaller zones that feature different elements such as murals, planters, seating, lighting, signage, speed bumps, permeable pavers, and vegetable beds. The project also suggests creating small gathering spaces at the north and south ends of the alley to activate the space and deter unwanted activities.

The project is still in its preliminary design stage and will require further testing and implementation strategies. The Long Beach community will work together to identify funding sources and priorities to make Dime Alley a safe and vibrant place for residents of all ages. The project is expected to have positive impacts on the neighborhood equity, connectivity, and well-being.