Alley Greening: A Tool for Enhancing Community Resilience?

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In many cities across the world alleys are transitioning from residual spaces to hybrid places providing the foundation for new functions, uses and identities to take root and coincide through a process of ‘alley greening’. Such manifestations are transforming the relationship between people (local residents) and place (alleyway – local area), most notably during the COVID-19 pandemic when a new urgency for the provision, or repurposing, of safe, social spaces emerged. Yet, the potential of alley greening to affect people-place relationships and engender community resilience has been relatively unexplored. Adopting a mixed-methods approach, including questionnaire, interviews and case study analyses, this paper critically investigates the experience and perspectives of green alleys from various place-based actors in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The findings reveal that, even in the absence of institutional and policy support, green alley projects have the potential to stimulate positive people-place relationships in various ways and enhance wider community resilience to shocks and stresses. However, barriers prevail, curtailing the reach and purpose of such projects both in Belfast and elsewhere. The paper considers how governance arrangements might best overcome such hurdles and strengthen pro-environmental and pro-social behaviours that are fundamental to community resilience.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLocal Environment
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 18 Oct 2023


  • Green Alleys
  • Planning
  • people-place relationships
  • community resilience
  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Pandemic


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