Learn about PPS's Three-pronged Approach to Drive Change
Case Studies 

The Alley Project




Contributed by 
Project for Public Spaces
October 5, 2015
December 22, 2017

What makes it Great?

Why it doesn't work?

In Southwest Detroit, a youth artist collective called Young Nation, along with The Detroit Collaborative Design Center, spearheaded a project to transform derelict alleyways into beautiful social spaces. Together they transformed two vacant lots and a detached garage in their neighborhood into a vibrant public place. Today, the garage doors are canvases for art work, the abandoned lots serve as gathering spaces for kids to play after school, and the garage itself is a clubhouse/studio space for youth. At this new hub, the group also hosted the inaugural Detroit Design Festival’s art battle, and the project has since been expanded to include a variety of street art initiatives.

Despite having limited resources and minimal investment, the Alley Project succeeded in building community engagement, strengthening a sense of ownership pride in the area, and bringing life to a previously overlooked space. 

Access & Linkages

Comfort & Image

Uses & Activities


How Light?

How Quick?

How Cheap?

History & Background

Related Links & Sources

Photo credits, from left: The Alley Project, The Alley Project via Facebook, The Alley Project, The Alley Project via Facebook, The Alley Project via Facebook, The Alley Project via Facebook

Follow They Alley Project

Website: youngnation.us

Facebook: facebook.com/tapgallery

Twitter: @youngnationdet

The Alley Project
Young people are the main players in the process
The Alley Project
The Alley Project
Painting together builds bonds
The Alley Project
Leaving a mark on her neighborhood
The Alley Project
Everyone is invited to participate
The Alley Project
Using artwork to isnpire Placemaking
The Alley Project
The Alley Project

*Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.


Corrections or additions? Email info@pps.org
Related Articles & Resources

More Related Articles

Learn about PPS's Three-pronged Approach to Drive Change