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


December 21, 2017 at 4:43 PM

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Public Space News & Events – Winter Solstice Edition

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Hi everyone,

The solstice has arrived! The days, once darkened, will now be getting brighter again.

We’d for us to take this opportunity to wish you the very best of the season. With new parks and plazas coming online, and a renewed interest in animating and stewarding our urban spaces, it’s been an exciting year for public life in Vancouver. We’re looking forward to more good stuff in the year ahead.

In the meantime, we hope you have a chance to enjoy the brightly lit streets and exciting events taking place over the next few weeks, connect with friends and family, and enjoy the city during this special time of year.

Stay warm out there!

- The VPSN crew


Last Minute Gift Ideas for the Public Space Aficionado

For those of you who are still struggling to find a gift for that special someone, we present our annual effort to resolve late-in-the-game gift-giving anxiety. There are lots of quick things you can do for your urbanist friends and family, so be sure to check out the 20+ ideas contained in our blog post. Peace of mind is just a few clicks away!

:: Read More – Last Minute Gift Ideas

Winteraction – January 27, 2017 (Funding Available)

Our friends at Frida + Frank are pulling together an excellent event for late-January, which aims to animate public space at this colder, rainier time of the year. On Saturday, January 27 they are inviting local placemakers to create an intervention and get outside and embrace the rain. Interventions can be as simple as splashing in the puddles, or as wild as creating a rain activated art-piece. The intent of this day-long celebration is to spark discussion on how we can positively change the way we view winter.

You can join the Winteraction Facebook page to gather and share ideas. There’s also some funding available! Frida &frank is looking to provide selected projects with up to $250 to create winter activations in public space. Applications are due January 4 at noon.

:: Read the full Overview and Call for Proposals
:: For more information – email
:: Apply for funding

Oakridge - Woodland - Concept

Oakridge Centre – Initial Park Design Concepts (Deadline for Comments – January 2)

The Vancouver Park Board is planning a new park as part of the redevelopment at Oakridge Centre. It presents an interesting design challenge. The nine acre public park will be the first of its kind in Vancouver, located partially on the roof top of the mall and partially at ground level. One of the challenges that we and others noted back in 2014, is that the differentiation in levels may pose issues in terms of the overall access to, and utilization of the park. How might the design of the park account for these considerations? Some initial concepts have been developed and shared via open houses in early December. There’s also a survey online until January 2.

:: View the Design Concepts and Open House Boards (December 2017)
:: Share your thoughts via the Oakridge Centre Park Concepts – Survey

South False Creek Workshops (various dates)

The City of Vancouver is creating a new plan for the False Creek South area – a neighbourhood that stretches from the Burrard Bridge to Cambie Bridge. As part of this, they have created workshops devoted to different planning themes. Registration for the 2018 False Creek South workshop series is now open.

  • Public Realm & Open Space, Wednesday, January 10 (5 – 8 pm)
  • Transportation, Wednesday, January 24 (5 – 8 pm)
  • Housing, Saturday, January 13 (9:30 am – 12:30 pm)
  • Character & Urban Design, Saturday, February 3 (3:30 – 6:30 pm)

Sign up for public workshops and help the City and community create a renewed vision for False Creek South!

:: Register for a workshop – online here or by calling 604-829-2015.
:: Read more on the False Creek South Planning Program

Improving Democratic Space – Speaking at City Council (Deadline: January 31, 2018)

Good news! The City is looking for ways to improve the experience of speaking at council! The following is excerpted from their media release.

“Have you ever spoken at a City of Vancouver council meeting? Or did you want to but were put off by the process? If so, the City wants to hear from you.

As part of a comprehensive review of the Procedure By-law, City staff are engaging with the public, staff and Council to make it simpler and more efficient for everyone who speaks at City Council meetings.” In particular, they want to identify

  • Challenges and barriers to accessing and speaking to Council
  • Opportunities to improve public access and experience when speaking to Council
  • The role of speakers in the decision making process
  • Language and accessibility needs of the public
  • Public and Council member conduct at meetings

The public survey is available until January 31, 2018 and focus group sessions will be held in early 2018 to further explore the challenges, barriers and opportunities to accessing and speaking at Council meetings.

:: Share your thoughts – Take the survey

Places for People – Wintertime Study (February 1 and February 3, 2018)

Interested in studying public life in the wintertime? The follow-up Downtown Public Space and Public Life Study has been scheduled for February 1 and 3, 2018. If you would like to volunteer, you can sign up for your shifts via Eventbrite.

The study is being conducted by Gehl Architects on behalf of the City of Vancouver to better understand how people use and spend time in Downtown Vancouver. The winter phase of the PSPL study will span forty different public spaces across the downtown.

Volunteer survey shifts are on February 1 and February 3, 2018. Shifts will be four hours long and will be anytime from 8:00 am – 8:00 pm. There is a required training session on Wednesday, January 31, 6:00-8:00 pm. (Location TBD).

:: Register to Volunteer via Eventbrite
:: Facebook Event Page

Volunteer Opportunities – Orientation

Put those resolutions into action! The VPSN is an all-volunteer, non-partisan organization that works to celebrated Vancouver’s public spaces. Our key activities include placemaking, research, and advocacy. If you’ve got some time to spare and want to lend a hand with the VPSN, why not drop by our next volunteer orientation meeting to learn more. It takes place January 15, 2018. Location TBD.

:: For more information, or to register –

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