Within Milwaukee, Thurston Woods is an inbetweenplace, part of the city, but far enough from the center to be a suburb. The alleys of Thurston Woods are traces of this, the city’s northward
push––which was one of the last expansions of the
Alleys have no address. They are socially invisible in-between spaces.
We turn our backs to alleys and cut them off at the property lines with fences and hedges. Few windows face alleys. Building facades facing alleys receive less upkeep. In Thurston Woods, alleys indicate the presence of the city; they are places where street paving spreads, garbage trucks come through, and electric poles bring us our much
needed energy. It is often perceived as a place of danger, suspicious people and graffiti. Simultaneously, alleys are also a place where youth feel they can escape the eyes of authority––their parents or the police ––while they play a forbidden game, curse, or set off fireworks. Alleys are places of no restraint, yet they are zones of high security because they are also a place of storage –– garages full of things we do not want to see or to be seen: cars, motorcycles, grills, outdoor equipment, tools, holiday decorations, toys and boxes of forgotten valuables.