Advocacy, education and outreach in support of Vancouver's public spaces

By vancouverpublicspace

October 5, 2013 at 11:48 AM

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VPSN Public Space News and Updates – October 5, 2013

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  • Sunday, October 6 – Harbour Hop!
  • HOLD THE DATE: Thursday, October 31 – Halloween SkyTrain Party


  • PARK(ing) Day 2013
  • P.S. I Love You – A Public Space Photo Scavenger Hunt


  • Saturday, October 5 – Oakridge Centre Rezoning – Open House
  • Saturday, October 5 – VAG North Plaza Redesign – Open House
  • Tuesday, October 8 – Improving Citizens’ Access to Speak to City Council
  • Coming Up: Downtown Bus Service Review
  • Coming Up: Community and Neighbourhood Planning Work – Public Realm Items
  • Talk Vancouver – New online space for you to share your ideas and opinions


  • Monday October 15 – Sunday October 20 – Living the New Economy 2013
  • October 22, 24, 28, 29 – Carbon Talks presents: Moving In Metro: A discussion on mobility pricing
  • Tuesday November 5 – The Creek Forum
  • Friday November 8 – Saturday November 9 – Media Democracy Days


  • Campaigning, Outreach and Communication — Get On Board BC


Sunday, October 6 – Harbour Hop!

The weather this Sunday is looking sunny and rain free! What better time than now to join the Vancouver Public Space Network for a unique autumn walking experience – an urban hike along all of Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet waterfront. Beginning at the Coal Harbour entrance to Stanley Park, this walk will travel east, along the Coal Harbour seawall, through the historic streets of Gastown and Railtown, past the industrial areas bordering our working port, and through the neighbourhoods of Grandview-Woodland and Hastings-Sunrise, terminating at New Brighton Park.

This is not a guided tour, but rather a communal stroll to enjoy the diversity of our harbour and its bordering neighbourhoods. Come see the many faces of Burrard Inlet – from its forest of glass towers to its historic cobblestone streets to the trucks and cranes of a busy port, to the quiet and leafy East Van neighbourhoods offering peek-a-boo views of the water.

Meet at the base of Aerodynamic Forms In Space, that funky airplane sculpture on the western end of Devonian Harbour Park, just east of where the pedestrian/cycling underpass under Georgia Street emerges. (Where the Stanley Park seawall ‘begins.’). The walk begins at 1pm sharp. Estimated walking time – about 3 hours. (And when the walk is over, transit is close by to get you home.)

This will be a fun, relaxed event. Invite your friends, bring your camera, and wear your most comfortable walking shoes!

IMPORTANT NOTE: This event is contingent on decent weather – so please our VPSN blog or Facebook event page on Sunday morning for updates.

:: Have questions? Give Scott a shout at: scott [at] vancouverpublicspace [dot] ca
:: Facebook Event Page

HOLD THE DATE: Thursday, October 31 – Halloween SkyTrain Party

Our VPSN signature event is back for the eighth year! Gather your friends, get your sassiest costumes together and get ready to celebrate public transit by jumping on the SkyTrain for a Halloween ride like no other.

We’re in the process of sorting out event details and will be releasing these over the next few weeks. We’ve got a spankingly awesome dj lined up, an after-party in the works and all sorts of other goodies in store. Mark your calendars!


PARK(ing) Day 2013

PARK(ing) Day is a worldwide celebration of public space reclamation. The premise is simple: with a shortage of parks and an abundance of parking spaces, there’s an opportunity to rethink the way we allocate land within our urban environments.

On Friday, September 20 the VPSN – in collaboration with City Studio, Modo Car Co-op, Tradeworks and a team of great volunteers collaborated to transform two parking spots outside of Japadog on Robson Street into a vibrant, musical and ‘woody’ community space for the day.

Using recycled wood and pallets to create an intimate space for passersby’s and downtown residents, our upcycled parking space became a place for people to sit, read, eat, talk, rest, meet new people, play the piano, and engage in art. A base ‘woody’ surface was designed and built in an East Vancouver backyard supported the CityStudio’s ‘Long Table’ and Polka-Dot piano, along with Ken Lum’s mobile art cart and Robert Beckenwermert’s covered wagon.

:: Check out Eric Scott’s photographs of Park(ing) Day
:: Moving pictures – a short video of the event was put together by GP Mendoza

P.S. I Love You – A Public Space Photo Scavenger Hunt

At 12PM on game day, the VPSN Game Masters at PS I Love U HQ didn’t know what to expect, but then the pictures started to flood in. 30 teams of public space enthusiasts were on the streets of Vancouver, tackling a big list of 57 riddles.

We were totally blown away by the enthusiasm, creativity, and determination of all the participating teams from the moment we received the first photo. A big shout out to all the players who fearlessly combed the city on Saturday afternoon. We received a lot of great photos and can’t wait to share them with all of you.

A fierce game was played, but after the dust had settled there were three teams at the top – The Life Warriors (106 points), The Mole Hill Monsters (75 points) and Jessica’s Day (66 points). We’ll be posting all the answers to the clues in short order. Stay tuned!

:: Check out our blog post for more details and photos from the day’s event


Saturday, October 5 – Oakridge Centre Rezoning – Open House

One of two City of Vancouver open houses taking place this weekend. A revised rezoning application for the Oakridge Centre development is now being considered by the City. In addition to the expansion of the mall itself, the proposed mixed-use development would introduce 11 buildings onto the site and a number of public space features. Features of the proposal include:

  • Doubling the size of the mall to 1.4 million square feet
  • 2,916 residential units
  • 300,000 square feet of new office space
  • A 70,000-square-foot civic centre (community centre, library, seniors centre and childcare space)
  • Rooftop open space
  • A range of building heights between six and 45 storeys

The Open House takes place 10:00am – 4:00pm at Oakridge Centre in the former Zellers location, 650 West 41st Avenue (41st and Cambie)

:: View the City’s Oakridge webpage and check out the “documents” tab for detailed boards and renderings
:: Provide a comment on the rezoning application here

Saturday, October 5 – VAG North Plaza Redesign – Open House

Earlier this week, the City unveiled three proposals for the redesign of the Art Gallery North Plaza (also known as Centennial Square or Courthouse Square). They’re part of a process of reviewing and redeveloping the plaza that began last year with the “Block 51” consultations that investigated the public space possibilities of both the North Plaza and the 800-block of Robson.

We’re excited to see the City move ahead with this process. The North Plaza is an important space in the City… and one whose historical significance and practical uses are currently undermined by a number of problematic design features (including circulation challenges, a fountain that many loathe and a bark mulch ground-cover that has recently turned into something resembling a mud pool).

If you’re keen on helping this plaza being something better than it is please lend your voice. We encourage you pop by Robson Square and visit the Open House. Check out the concepts and talk with the design team that put them together. (At this point they’re not trying to ‘pick a winner – just get feedback on the features that people like and don’t like).

The event takes place 12:30-3:30pm at the UBC Robson Square, Plaza Lounge (inside the main entrance opposite the skating rink).

:: Concept 1 – Wet 
:: Concept 2 – Active Edge 
:: Concept 3 – Plalo Ring
:: Main City of Vancouver “Block 51” webpage 
:: Feedback Questionnaire

Tuesday, October 8 – Improving Citizens’ Access to Speak to City Council

This will be of interest to VPSN members who are interested in the role of democratic spaces. A motion will be considered next Tuesday, October 8, at City Council that looks at the accessibility of Council deliberations to the average citizen. This is an issue that we identified in our Route Map of public space policy a few years back – and something that we continue to feel strongly about.

The motion – which has yet to be debated – asks that City staff “investigate best practices, consult with the Mayor’s Engaged City Task Force, the City’s advisory committees and others, and report back to Council within two months with suggestions on how to improve citizens’ access to speak to City Council, including the possibility of allowing citizens to sign up for daytime or evening time periods, and the use of technology to alert speakers as to which number on the speakers’ list is being heard.”

:: Read the full text of the motion
:: Have your say – follow this link to see how you can register a comment

Coming Up: Downtown Bus Service Review

The City of Vancouver and TransLink are in the midst of a joint study of downtown local bus service to take into account the many changes that have taken place downtown in the past few years. Recently, they released a summary of what they heard from the public during their consultations in late June and early July of this year.

We are following the City and TransLink’s work on this item closely, as it has the potential to benefit both transit mobility and the downtown public realm. Further information on this study will be released in Fall 2013 and we will provide an additional update at that time.

:: Downtown Bus Service Review webpage
:: Summary of initial consultation

Coming Up: Community and Neighbourhood Planning Work – Public Realm Items

Also on the books for Fall 2013 are a number of neighbourhood-scale public realm items:

Stay tuned for updates on these items as they emerge.

Talk Vancouver – New online space for you to share your ideas and opinions

From the City’s webpage:

“As part of our Engaged City initiative, we invite you to be part of Talk Vancouver, an online space for civic participation.

Help us build a better Vancouver by becoming a member of the City’s online community of trusted, local advisors. We’ll be inviting you to participate in studies and discussions to ask you about your needs and ideas, share information with you about new initiatives, and find out what’s most important to you.

Why join? When you sign up for Talk Vancouver, you can:

  • Play your part in shaping Vancouver
  • Ensure that your unique views and ideas are included in the conversation
  • Stay informed and connected to the City’s latest initiatives
  • Participate in public consultations online

:: To join visit the Talk Vancouver webpage


Monday October 15 – Sunday October 20 – Living the New Economy 2013

Check out the exciting line up of workshops, film and capacity-building events at the second annual Living the New Economy conference. The event takes place at Granville Island and features a number of events that will be of interest to public space aficionados, including the following:

  • Workshops with place-maker extraordinaire Mark Lakeman (Portland City Repair)
  • Indigenous Leadership and Perspectives on the New Economy
  • Reclaiming the Commons: Why the future will be distributed and open source (with Michel Bauwens, P2P Foundation, Dallas Luther, MakerLabs, and Tiberius Brastaviceanu, Sensorica)
  • Shared Spaces and Physical Incubators: how co-location fosters a collaborative culture, (with John Bromely, Benevoland and Tara Mahoney, Gen Why Media)

Each event is individually ticketed, or you can get full passes for the week-long event (at quite a reasonable rate, we might add!).

:: More information via the Living the New Economy webpage including Tickets and complete Programme

October 22, 24, 28, 29 – Carbon Talks presents: Moving In Metro: A discussion on mobility pricing

Being able to move around our cities is critical for transporting goods, accommodating jobs and population growth, building strong and vibrant communities, and connecting with our partners in the region and elsewhere. But how do we pay for our transportation system in a way that is fair and transparent and provides for our current and future needs?

The SFU Centre for Dialogue is hosting a series of four regional dialogues with residents to explore one response to this question – mobility pricing. The goal of each session is to increase our understanding of mobility pricing as it applies to roads and to hear citizens’ perspectives on its potential role in Metro Vancouver’s transportation system.

:: More information or to register

Tuesday November 5 – The Creek Forum

Continuing the work of the St. George Rainway Project, The Creek Stewards (students from Mount Pleasant Elementary) will lead a day of activities designed to inform and inspire engagement with place-making, specifically around the “headwaters” of theRainway (Kingsway and St. George st). This event reflects and celebrates over a year of work the students have undertaken to meet their community enhancement goals.

:: More information – Creek Forum Website

Friday November 8 – Saturday November 9 – Media Democracy Days

Media Democracy Days is an annual media reform conference that promotes alternative, independent, and democratic media in Canada. MDD is organized in partnership with SFU’s School of Communication, The Vancouver Public Library, and, and is held annually to engage the public in critical debates relating to media-related issues…This year’s event focal points include information control, access to information, personal privacy, and online spying.

:: Check out this year’s programming at the Media Democacy Days webpage


Campaigning, Outreach and Communication — Get On Board BC

The Vancouver Public Space Network has endorsed the GetOnBoard BC coalition to advocate for sustainable funding for improved public transit service and infrastructure across Metro Vancouver. Get On Board BC is in need of a number of volunteers to assist with tasks such as writing, research, coordination, outreach and community engagement, campaigning, communication and coalition-building around the future of transportation throughout the region.

:: Contact Karen Quinn Fung ( to learn more.

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