An obsession with alleys began as a young boy for . He viewed them with wonder, imaging a world of possibility. As he grew older, however, he noticed that they were often dirty and underutilized. Now a principal at , committed to improving his hometown of Vancouver, British Columbia, he and his firm joined forces with the and city government to transform a trio of these thoroughfares.
The public-private partnership, called , began with Alley-Oop in the financial district. Receiving just a stipend, Fast, along with HCMA associate and architect , applied traffic-grade paint in pink, purple, and yellow—delineating a basketball half-court and stretching up the walls—and installed a hoop. New LED fixtures ensure safety. As a result, foot traffic has doubled, with female pedestrians increasing 15 percent.
An alley behind the , an ornate 1927 theater, is being transformed to host performances and incorporate public art funded through . A third alley is in the design phase. HCMA has also developed an open-asset tool kit for any community hoping to up its alley game.