AlleyIf you’re like us, you have only a vague notion of what UC Berkeley’s urban design school actually does. Well, based on this project by professor Nicholas de Monchaux, you were basically exactly right. His team hopes to take San Francisco’s neglected nooks and abandoned crannies and … make them better.

Here’s the lowdown: dense cities tend to have a lot of unused space. Dingy, awful space. We’re talking the allies behind buildings, stretches by freeway on-ramps, concrete stretches near industrial parks—space that is technically owned by the city but is not able to be sold and serves no purpose beyond rat real estate.

Until now, it was kind of difficult to keep track of these “unaccepted streets.” Then UC Berkeley researchers invented a technology called “Local Code” (cue trumpets, beam of sunlight). In a matter of seconds, it is able to locate and display the entirety of unused concrete space in SF.

Being that these spaces tend to be in environmentally f*cked places, De Monchaux figures that greenifying them will serve the dual purpose of reducing eyesore and helping to improve air quality in run-down areas.

But yeah, just watch this video. It explains things way better than we can.

Image Source: Joslynan under Creative Commons.
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