Australia and New Zealand are rich in cultural and recreational resources, including the display of graffiti art, stencils, paintings, paste-ups, light boxes, mosaics and other creative art displays. In Melbourne, for example, there are over 20 lanes and alleys throughout the city where the brick and stucco walls of office buildings and warehouses provide the canvas for this contemporary art form. Not the typical gang-related rebellious graffiti we often see in the US, this graffiti is a creative art form, and as such is not only accepted, but is promoted as a tourist attraction. See The Evolution of Melbourne’s Graffiti Art for more information. I highly recommend taking a guided or self-directed walking tour of these unique and very interesting parts of the City. I am sure there are many many similar examples that I missed, and as I continue to travel I will make an effort to expand on this initial small collection. It will be interesting to see how the artwork changes from place to place, and what other forms I might find along the way. Watch this short video to see what limited examples I have collected so far: Graffiti Art | Australia and New Zealand.
Another creative use of alleys in central Melbourne is the retail development of many narrow alleys, which in US cities are normally limited to service and delivery use. By allowing small bars, cafes, art galleries, restaurants and other retail establishments the use of alley rights-of-way, a more intimate, sometimes lively experience is provided, and less expensive space is possible. More information is available at Melbourne’s Hidden Laneways.