ImaginArt in the Alleys

City of Marion

Funding Received: 2014
Marion, IA
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
April 12, 2016

Dan Burden, co-founder of the Livable and Walkable Communities Institute, has been networking with Marion’s Blue Zones Team to keep tabs on progress being made on our alley project. He enjoys exploring areas off the beaten path in urban spaces around the world, and one of his favorites is London’s 7 Dials. The historic area is named after a sundial that serves as a focal point on a roundabout where 7 streets converge.

On a recent trip to London, my husband and I found the alleyways of Neal’s Yard in the 7 Dials area to be a refreshing escape from the city’s noisy streets. The arty vibe of this little neighborhood could brighten up the dreariest of days! Pedestrians are encouraged to refuel, shop and linger in this colorful space designed with residents and visitors in mind.

Pedestrian amenities are important – seating, bike racks, lighting, planters, signage and even trash receptacles. These elements are like puzzle pieces, and with careful planning they can serve their purposes and fit together to create a cohesive feel. This cool spot in London was an interesting place to visit and I love getting ideas where ever I travel, but in the end, “there’s no place like home…”