VPSN – Public Space News & Events – May 2023
We’re well into spring now! The flowers are beginning to bloom, parks and plazas are filling up, and the sounds of seasonal change are in the air. This edition of the VPSN Public Space News & Events comes with a bouquet of events and activities, including details on the VPSN Annual General Meeting, the 4th Placemaking Canada Gathering, and the always-awesome Jane’s Walk tours. There’s also info on two new greenways, public space initiatives in the West End and Gastown, and our next volunteer orientation. Enjoy!
The VPSN Annual General Meeting is coming up next week! This year’s event takes at the amazing Collingwood Neighbourhood House (5288 Joyce Street, walking distance from Joyce Collingwood Station). Since the late 1980’s, CNH has been providing a safe space and an array of services to the surrounding Renfrew-Collingwood neighbourhood. We’re honoured to be able to hold our annual meeting in this important non-profit operated public space.
Our AGM agenda will include recap of our advocacy and project work over the past year, and provide a preview of our work ahead. As part of the activities, we will also provide an update on our finances and elect a new board of directors for the upcoming year.
Before getting down to business, we will also be taking a short walk through nearby Collingwood Park (5275 McKinnon Street), which is currently undergoing an important redesign process. Weather permitting, the walk will last approximately 1 hr, at which point we will head to Collingwood Neighbourhood House for the AGM.
- 6pm: Walking Tour – Meet at the corner of Euclid and McKinnon
- 7pm: Annual General Meeting – Program Room (2nd Floor), Collingwood Neighbourhood House
- Please register and read more details here. Both the walk and the AGM are free to attend and everyone is welcome.
Our first volunteer orientation in some time, for new and returning volunteers. We’ve got some great projects in the hopper right now, and we’re excited to be hosting this upcoming orientation session (held online via Zoom). If you’d like to learn more about the Vancouver Public Space Network, or find out how you can lend a hand with our placemaking, research, and advocacy work, sign up for this.
Exciting public space events are taking place in Toronto this coming June, including the International Public Markets Conference (June 8-10), and the annual Park People Conference (June 21-23). In between these two events, is the fourth Placemaking Canada Gathering. The VPSN is proud to support this grassroots initiative linking together placemakers and public space advocates across the country. The 2023 gathering will include walking/biking tours, ‘open mic’ sessions, workshops, and networking sessions. The ultimate aim – building the Canadian placemaking movement!
Registration will be open in the next few days. Please mark your calendar and share the news with any placemaking contacts who might be interested in joining!
- More information via Placemaking Canada Facebook – placemaking-canada.ca
PUBLIC SPACE NEWS & ENGAGEMENT OPPORTUNITIES
In 1995, Vancouver approved it’s Greenways Plan – and with it, a series of designated car-free or car-light pathways that are intended to provide park-like connections for walking, rolling and cycling. Greenways also include improvements like expanded parks, increased landscaping, public art, and drinking fountains.
The network is slowly being built out and now includes popular routes such as the Central Valley Greenway, Comox-Helmcken Greenway, and the Seaside Greenway (along Pt. Grey Rd). In 2022, Council approved the Vancouver Plan, and a proposed “expansion and enhancement” of the existing greenways network.
Two new greenways processes are underway, both of which will provide critical improvements in the overall network. The proposed Bute Street Greenway will run from Sunset Beach Park (False Creek) to Harbour Green Park (Burrard Inlet), and includes a permanent design for Bute-Robson Plaza. At the same time, the City is also looking to design the Portside Greenway, a 7 km route following the city’s northern edge, spanning between Gastown, and running through Grandview-Woodland and Hastings-Sunrise to the city’s eastern boundary. You can learn more about these public space improvements and engagement opportunities by following the links below.
City Council will be discussing the future of Gastown at its next meeting. This is good news on the public space front, as both Maple Tree Square and Water Street represent important areas for improvement, and there are a number of other interventions which could enhance public life in the area.
The motion being deliberated calls for a “streets and public realm planning and design process for Gastown that brings in an external urban place-making lens and expertise …toward a bold vision to pedestrianize Water Street and make it carfree or car-light.” With further language referencing “an overarching goal being a more vibrant, people-friendly destination and the enabling of ongoing activations including patios, music, events, festivals and active transportation opportunities.”
- The Gastown discussion will take place on May 9-10. You can view the full text of the proposed Council motion here. To share your thoughts with Council, you sign up to share your thoughts in person or via phone, or fill out this online form to do so in writing.
The City of Vancouver and Vancouver Park Board have been working on a plan for the West End waterfront (roughly between Stanley Park and the Burrard Bridge). The Imagine West End Waterfront second round of engagement is now live on Shape Your City. Three preliminary design approaches have been developed to help guide the long-term plan. Each approach emphasizes and celebrates a different quality of the West End waterfront.
- Follow this link for more information or to take the survey (deadline May 21). Let the City know what you think of the preliminary design approaches and ideas for the 30-year plan.
- You may also want to check out a related page on West End commercial streets – which showcases some of the proposed improvements to Davie, Denman, and Robson Streets
Inspired by author and urbanist Jane Jacobs, Jane’s Walks is an annual event that encourages people “to share stories about their neighbourhoods, discover unseen aspects of their communities, and use walking as a way to connect with their neighbours.” Dozens of tours have been set up, including walks in Queen Elizabeth, sθәqәlxenәm ts’exwts’áxwi7 (Rainbow), Hastings, and New Brighton Parks, strolls along the proposed Portside Greenway, and wanderings in several neighbourhoods, including Norquay, the West End, Main Street, Renfrew-Collingwood, and Mt. Pleasant.
- Jane’s Walk events are free, but registration is required. For more info, visit Jane’s Walk Vancouver.