ALLEY HOPPIN! Putting People Back in DC’s Alleys

Created by EL Studio, this award-winning, ongoing research and public space advocacy initiative has comprised of three phases: Research—mapping the physical evolution of the alleys and establishing an agenda for future development; Outreach—public engagement, creation of awareness and the identification of program; and Advocacy—connecting with stakeholders and the development of design proposals for new built interventions.

This exhibition will share the studio’s process through displays and interactive activities that prompt visitors to engage with the topics, insuring that as Washington, DC continues to develop, the unique alley network of public space will not go underutilized.


Did you know that Washington, DC has 3,217 alleys which, when unraveled, total 246 linear miles?  There are 82,397 single-family residential properties with alley frontage in the District.  If each of those properties added alley housing / accessory apartments with an average of 2.28 persons per household, that could be space for 187,900 new residents!

Born of urban pressures in the 19th century, the city’s alleys were later neglected, yet they can be reinvigorated for the 21st century. Through research, analysis, public engagements and physical interventions, the Washington Alley Project examines the city’s informal alley network as a viable site for new modes of urban living, creating opportunities to adapt to the social and technological pressures of the present and future without sacrificing architectural heritage.


ALLEY HOPPIN! Putting People Back in DC’s Alleys is organized by EL Studio, PLLC in cooperation with AIA|DC. 

The in-person exhibition at the District Architecture Center, SIGAL Gallery closes on Friday, October 16. See information to make an appointment.

Project Partners:
American University Game Lab; Bell Visuals; BluEdge; Congress Heights Community Training & Development Corporation; DC Department of Transportation; DC Preservation League; DC Office of Planning: Ferris Custom Cabinetry; Mount Vernon Triangle CID; Today at Apple; urbanSEED

Tarpon Construction

Alliance Builders; Mount Vernon Triangle CID

Added Dimensions; Comfort Engineering; CS Consulting Engineers, Inc.; Ditto Residential; JLC Engineering LLC; Lighting Environments; Linton Engineering; Mr. and Mrs. Ronald N. Slimp II; POWERHOUSE; Think Make Build, LLC
© AIA Washington DC 2021