The Master Plan identified our downtown alleys as having potential for improved pedestrian passages, smarter waste management, public art and even new business opportunities. To get us started in that direction we partnered with the University of Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities program. Urban and Regional Planning student Liz Minor helped to lay out a vision with her work on the project:

Iowa City’s alleyways are multi-purpose spaces with significant potential to contribute to Iowa City’s sustainability efforts. Currently the city’s alleyways serve as networks of resource distribution, waste collection, recycling, and transportation for city businesses and residents, but these functions are not always fully coordinated. With innovative management and foresight, the alleyways could operate more effectively while also providing opportunities for decreasing waste, increasing the efficiency of public services, increasing recycling, and strengthening the downtown district’s unique community identity through enhanced public space. This project moved towards these goals through an assessment of current conditions in and possible solutions for the alleyways that included stakeholder meetings, a downtown business survey, and case study research. Four recommendations were made to the City of Iowa City and the Iowa City Downtown District about waste management in the alleyways.

Read the full report at

More to come in 2015-16 on improvements to our alleyways!

Date of publication

Monday, July 20, 2015