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


November 24, 2017 at 2:53 PM

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Public Space News & Events – November 2017

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Rain Urbanism - Matthew Soules

Hope you are doing your best to stay dry amidst the heavy rains of late. The precipitation may put a bit of a damper on public space activities – but it’s also a great opportunity to think about how we, as a city, can better respond to the realities of wet weather. As with previous years, we’ll be exploring this issue in a number of ways over the next few months, so stay tuned for more on that front. There’s even a few events this month to feed into the discussion!

The VPSN Team

Exploring Gastown Public Spaces – Monday, November 27

Recently, we had a chance to support the City of Vancouver’s efforts to “Reimagine Gastown Streets” by exploring a number of the neighbourhood’s key public spaces. For us, this is all part of a larger body of advocacy and placemaking work that we’ve done around Blood Alley, the Waterfront Hub, and Alexander Street (to name a few of our projects).

Coming up next Monday, November 27 at 6:00pm, we’ll be holding a small ideas jam with our team to look at developing a comprehensive set of recommendations that we can use in our advocacy work around Gastown.

If you’re interested in joining, please let us know. Email for more details.

“Public Space Day” at City Council – Wednesday, November 29

Speaking of advocacy… City staff will be presenting a number of updates to Council next week, including reports on Plaza Stewardship, Special Events, the Viva Vancouver (public space activation) program, Bute & Robson Plaza, and an update on the Places for People work involving the City’s downtown public spaces.

The VPSN will be reviewing all of these reports over the next few days, and we’d encourage you to do the same. And hey, you should let Council know your thoughts. More often than not, City Council only hears from people who don’t like a particular initiative… but we think there’s lots in these programs and initiatives that’s worthy of general comment and commendation! Consider informing the discussion by sharing your feedback!

:: Check out the Council Agenda (contains links to individual reports)
:: Share your thoughts – email

Community Dialogue – Downtown Parks & Recreation – Wednesday, November 29

How would you like the Park Board to provide recreation, such as arts, culture, spaces and facilities, in the downtown core of Vancouver? The Vancouver Park Board is developing Vancouver’s Playbook, a new master plan to guide the delivery of vibrant parks and recreation over the next 25 years. This coming Wednesday, they’ll be holding a dialogue on the future of downtown parks and recreation facilities. The event takes place 6:30 – 9:00pm, at the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre. It’s free, but registration is encouraged.

:: Register for Park Board – VanPlay Community Dialogue: Downtown
:: More Info:

Places for People Downtown – Public Space Makers – Wednesday, December 6

As part of the Lumiere Festival, the City of Vancouver is hosting a Pecha Kucha-style discussion that looks at how our public spaces function. In particular, the event asks What kind of public spaces do we need in Downtown Vancouver? How can we better support the idea of creating public life in a rainy city?

The event takes place at Jim Deva Plaza (Bute and Davie), 6:00-8:30pm. The VPSN’s Paola Qualizza will be one of a number of presenters – so be sure to check out this exciting event!

Five More Public-Space Related Projects that Need Your Input

The City of Vancouver is in the midst of a number of public-space related initiatives that you may be interested in. Though described in a recent media release as “transportation” projects, the initiatives in question will all have the potential to enhance city streets and neighbourhoods in a number of different ways. Projects include upgrades to the Georgia Gateway, improvements to the Cambie Bridge, the North East False Creek Area Plan, the Alexander Bikeway, and Mobility Pricing.
There are various consultation opportunities under way, and while some of the open house opportunities have passed, there are other ways to share your feedback.

:: Read More – Get Involved: New and ongoing public space initiatives need your input

Recap: Arbutus Greenway Design Jam

October 27–29, 2017 saw the Arbutus Greenway Design Jam, an all-weekend event where 100 Vancouverites met to generate ideas for the permanent greenway. Residents discussed how to enhance biodiversity and access to nature in the city, provide spaces for play and learning at all ages, increase opportunities for public art, and honour the layered history and culture of the area.

Naomi Wittes Reichstein, Arbutus Greenway Project Lead for the VPSN, was there. You can read her write-up on our blog.

:: Read More – Building our city at the Arbutus Greenway Design Jam

Gift Ideas for the Public Space Aficionado. Your ideas?

Every few years we public a list of cool gift ideas for lovers of public space. There’s always an exciting mix of things to be found – and some of the best ideas come from readers like yourself.

If you’ve got something you think we should add to this year’s list, please email us at

Volunteer Opportunities?

Interested in lending a hand with our public space work? Our next volunteer orientation session takes place on Tuesday, December 5 at 6pm. Location details are being finalized, but if you’d like to attend please email


Photo credit: Rain Urbanism, by Matthew Soules

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