Spaces to Places

Transforming Public Spaces into Vibrant Places for the Community.

Fashionably Lit: Huntsville Area Association of REALTORS®’ Chandelier Alley

Alabama alley activation transforms a dingy service alley into a vibrant gathering space with help from an NAR Placemaking Grant.

Thanks to the Huntsville Area Association of REALTORS®, a dimly lit, little-used service alley in downtown Huntsville, Ala., has found new purpose as a creative, interactive gathering space for the entire community.

Once a dingy spot that pedestrians would avoid, the newly minted “Chandelier Alley” has sprung to brilliant life with sparkling lights, interactive art, and bustling crowds attracted to the regular slate of events hosted in the alley. Working in partnership with the City of Huntsville and nonprofit Downtown Huntsville, Inc., HAAR helped lead the placemaking process, including design review, cleanup of the site, and activation of the alley located between Spring Street and Clinton Avenue. A $5,000 Placemaking Grant from the National Association of REALTORS® enabled HAAR to contribute funds to decorative seating, artistic lighting, and interactive art spaces.

Completed in the summer of 2022, the alley also includes two signature artistic pieces that have locals and tourists alike flocking downtown for photo ops: a colorful chandelier mural painted by acclaimed local artist Jessie Andrews and a chandelier sculpture created by Drop Metal design and fabrication studio founder Micah Gregg.

A permanent plaque listing HAAR as the sponsor of the chandelier adorns the alleyway.

From June to October last year, regular night markets featuring local vendors and interactive activities from Huntsville’s art and entertainment partners drew scores of delighted visitors to Chandelier Alley. A second summer session of night markets is due to start soon, and even more events are planned for the colorful downtown space.

HAAR leadership and staff are proud that they could be of service to the community through a placemaking project. “REALTORS® are more than door openers,” HAAR President Isaac Winkles told news outlet “We’re community partners committed to moving our area forward every day. We were proud to organize our REALTOR® community to support and help clean up the area.”


Community Outreach Programs

Housing Opportunity Grant
Housing Opportunity Grants support state and local REALTOR® Associations’ affordable housing activities. The goal of the program is to position REALTORS® as leaders in improving their communities by creating affordable housing

Smart Growth Grant
Smart growth is an approach to development that encourages a mix of building types and uses, diverse housing and transportation options, development within existing neighborhoods, and community engagement. The Smart Growth Program offers state and local REALTOR® Associations to way to engage with government officials, community partners and the general public in planning and designing community’s future.

Planned diversity initiatives makes good business sense. REALTOR® Associations with well-planned diversity programs create a stronger sense of community, particularly in neighborhoods with high concentrations of foreign-born and minority residents who are moving up the socioeconomic ladder and are buying homes.

NAR Placemaking Resources

Placemaking Guide: A Guide to Transform a Public Space into a Community Place
REALTORS® and state and local association staff can learn the details of Placemaking, the kinds of projects placemaking entails, how to organize them, and where to go for assistance and resources.

Placemaking Webinar Series
Our Placemaking Webinar Series will provide more in depth information on the various types of Placemaking and how REALTORS® were involved in Placemaking activities in their communities.

Placemaking Grant
The Placemaking Grant funds the creation of new public spaces, like pocket parks, trails & gardens, in a community. The grant focuses on “lighter, cheaper, quicker” placemaking projects, which can be built under a year and cost less  than $200,000.

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Smart Growth

The healthier a community, the better the environment for REALTORS®. Keeping a community attractive, livable and functioning well is a complex task.