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END NOTES ( p.2 ) I claimed to be no historian, but because I have compiled some information, I might as well share it: The brick building that now houses Allegro was built in 1909 and served a number of purposes (most notably a mortuary) before becoming a café in 1975. The café occupies a crucial position on the Seattle coffee culture timeline (and American coffee culture in general), as it was one of the first designated espresso bars in Seattle. It is also often cited as the prototype for what Starbucks would become. On the other side of the alleyway is the towering, “neo-Gothic” University Temple United Methodist Church, which was constructed in 1927. The church’s back entrance is located in the alleyway and is a heavily used space thanks to a number of charitable services, like a weekly Friday thrift store and needle exchange, run out of the back entrance. And, finally, the mixed-use Russell Hall building was constructed across from Allegro in 2009. The building houses apartments, office space, and a restaurant (Mod Pizza). Its presence in the alleyway is respectful of the existing businesses (primarily Allegro, whose view and visibility were heavily impacted by the building) by receding a bit from the alleyway, widening it and allowing space for planters, bike racks, and sculptural concrete spheres. The building presents an attractive face to the alleyway as well, emphasizing its attention to the social space of the alleyway, with clean brick and concrete masonry, tile work, human scale lamps, and patches of green walls covered in climbing plants. The Russell building, unfortunately, does not contribute much socially/communally to the space—the office spaces are located on the second floor and look down into the alley and Mod Pizza’s patrons keep mostly to the Mod business. Doughman, Andrew. “U-District History: Cafe Allegro.” U District Daily. “How Firm a Foundation.” From Tent to Temple. Seattle: University Temple United Methodist Church. ( p. 6-7 ) Hardt, Michael, and Antonio Negri. “Metropolis.” Commonwealth. Cambridge, MA: Belknap of Harvard UP, 2009. p.255-56. ( p.8 ) Jacobs, Jane. “The Uses of Sidewalks: Safety.” The Death and Life of Great American Cities. New York: Vintage, 1992. 20


( p.18-19 ) Quotations regarding the “right to the city”: “The right to the city is like a cry and a demand... a transformed and renewed right to urban life.” Lefebvre, Henri. Writings on cities. Blackwell, Cambridge, MA. 1996. p.158 “The right to the city is far more than the individual liberty to access urban resources: it is a right to change ourselves by changing the city. It is, moreover, a common rather than an individual right since this transformation inevitably depends upon the exercise of a collective power to reshape the processes of urbanization” Harvey, David. “The Right to the City.” New Left Review. Oct. 2008. “The right to the city stresses the need to restructure the power relations that underlie the production of urban space, fundamentally shifting control away from capital and the state and toward urban inhabitants.” Purcell, Mark. “Excavating Lefebvre: The Right to the City and Its Urban Politics of the Inhabitant.” GeoJournal 58.2/3 (2002). p.99-108. However, Mark Purcell argues that the idea of the “right to the city” is attractive but one that requires more serious thought than it has been given and is not the only solution to a more democratic city. More information: The Allegro alleyway is a good example of a well-used, safe alleyway and would likely classify as an “activated alleyway.” The concept of utilized/activated alleyway space in Seattle is something that has been extensively explored and analyzed by Jennifer Kempson and Mary Fialko in the Seattle Integrated Alley Handbook. The two surveyed nearly 200 alleyways around Seattle (primarily in Downtown Seattle, Capitol Hill, Pioneer Square, and Ballard) and proposed ways the alleyways might be “activated” and realized as safe, social, public spaces that benefit the community and local businesses. While the Allegro alleyway was not covered in their survey, it certainly adheres to a number of the principles laid out for an activated alleyway and is, likewise, used much like the Alley Handbook proposes. There are numerous other examples of efforts to activate and utilize alleyway space in Seattle, like the Alley Network Project and organized alleyway art walks. Kempson, Jennifer, and Mary Fialko. Seattle Integrated Alley Handbook. Seattle: Isuu. This comic was heavily inspired by Sophie Yanow’s War of Streets and Houses – a short graphic novel about student strikes in Montreal and Sophie’s study of urban planning and spaces designed to control. Yanow, Sophie. War of Streets and Houses. Minneapolis, MN: Uncivilized, 2014. Thanks to Allegro for the Americanos and truly positive space.

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Profile for Aidan Quinlan

The Right to the Alley  

The Allegro alleyway is a significant space for me (and for so many others too). With this short comic I explore how the crowded alleyway o...

The Right to the Alley  

The Allegro alleyway is a significant space for me (and for so many others too). With this short comic I explore how the crowded alleyway o...

Profile for aidanq
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