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

Paola Qualizza (chair; local economy) started exploring the interplay of urban geography and local economics while at SFU, and has always been interested in the ‘playful edge’ where economic activity meets public space. Paola has been Chair of the VPSN since June 2014, and also leads the Network’s local economy portfolio. She sits on the City of Vancouver’s Civic Assets Naming Committee, and the Downtown Vancouver BIA’s Placemaking Committee. In addition to her work with the VPSN, she is Managing Director at Groundswell, a community-based social venture incubator.

Michelle Pollard (vice-chair; volunteer coordinator) has been volunteering with the VPSN since 2014. With expertise in sustainable urban design, Michelle has been working to create engaging public spaces while integrating nature within the urban built environment. Michelle believes that public spaces provide the perfect opportunity to foster engagement, social connection and happiness within our city’s diverse population, while providing opportunities for community stewardship and pride. Michelle also sits on the City of Vancouver’s Development Permit Board Advisory Panel.

Stewart Burgess (secretary-treasurer; special projects) is a project leader who specializes in specific transformations of public spaces. He has been a part of the VPSN’s Park(ing) Day activities, the Skytrain Halloween Party, and various Robson Square activations such as the Polka Dot Piano (in collaboration with CityStudio’s Keys to the Street). He joined the VPSN Board of Directors in 2013.

Selina Bull (social-wellbeing, health and safety) has a keen interest in social planning and urban issues, and how these interact with and animate public space. She holds a Master’s degree in Regional and Urban Planning Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science, where she occasionally snuck into Hyde Park at night, and researched and wrote about the right to the city, deconstructing the political, social sustainability, and health narratives about gentrification in Vancouver’s downtown east side. Selina also works as a strategic communications and public/stakeholder engagement professional for policy, planning and infrastructure projects.

Caitriona Feeney (special projects) has been volunteering with the organization since 2011. Since she started with the VPSN, she has been involved with the VPSN’s VIVA Vancouver projects, Robson Square activations, and policy research for our Downtown Public Realm Project. She is a former commissioner on the Vancouver City Plan Commission and a policy planner with the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems.

Karen Quinn Fung (streets and transportation) has long been curious about issues at the intersection of technology, communities and society. At the VPSN, she’s been involved in public transit-related projects and advocacy, helping organize events like the annual SkyTrain party, PS (Public Space) I Love U, and representing the VPSN as a stakeholder in the City of Vancouver’s Transportation 2040 Advisory Committee. Karen has previously helped convene unconferences for public engagement on transit issues. She serves as a member of the executive committee for the American Planning Association Technology Division and continues to contribute to civic technology projects using open data that make the urban experience more inclusive, enjoyable and sustainable. She writes on her interests and life at countably infinite .

Wendee Lang (open space) is passionate about the role of parks and plazas in the civic life of the city and possesses a keen interest in the intersections of democracy, ecology and park design. She sits on the City of Vancouver’s Park Naming Committee, and the North East False Creek Park Design Advisory Group. She’s also represented the VPSN in various other public space initiatives, including Re-imagining Granville Island 2040, St. George Rainway, and the Arbutus Greenway. Wendee also works as a writer and communications specialist.

Mitchell Reardon (streets and transportation) is an urbanist at Metropolitan Collective, and also collaborates with Happy City, IBI Group and Nordregio. His interdisciplinary work centres on people and how they live, work and move through the city. Mitchell is happy to be back in Vancouver, after 6 great years in Stockholm, Sweden. Catch up with him on Twitter: @MitchellReardon

Interested in joining the VPSN Board of Directors? Drop us an email and let’s chat! info [at] vancouverpublicspace.ca