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


P.S. (Public Space) I Love U – In September 2013, The Vancouver Public Space Network presented P.S. (Public Space) I Love U: A City-Wide Photo Hunt. The day-long, photo treasure hunt challenged people to discover the fun public spaces that exist throughout the city, from unconventional public art, community-inspired fixtures, parks with one-of-a-kind amenities, and just fun and odd things that are exclusively Vancouver. Over 30 teams explored and captured photos of what makes Vancouver’s public realm unique, in the hopes of winning some really awesome prizes. Some proclaimed that playing this game was the most fun they’ve had in the city for the long time, and we were totally blown away by the enthusiasm, creativity, and determination of all the players. Check out the all the fun photos on our Flickr page.


Public Space Short Film Festivals -We’ve hosted two short film festivals to highlight the breadth and range of public space issues affecting our city and others. The first, ‘City Shorts’ was a held at the Vancity theatre in 2009 to an almost sold out crowd, and touched on themes such as: trespassing, urban exploring, graffiti, parkour, greenspace, indigenous communities, billboards, gentrification and technology in public spaces. Our second festival, ‘Arts in the Heart’ in 2012, was held on a warm summer evening in the open air parking lot behind Our Town Cafe at Main & Kingsway. This event demonstrated an alternative use of the parking lot as a site for cultural activity, as envisioned in the Mt. Pleasant Community Plan. We also invited the local businesses to participate and provide film-goers with tasty snacks to accompany the films. Films included a mix of local and international films about public art, neighbourhood character, creative communities and advertising in public spaces.

Laser Graffiti Using the Graffiti Research Lab’s open source software, and with assistance from the Viva Vancouver program, we put together our own laser graffiti system and invited the public to come and explore the intersection of arts, technology and public space. The system allows anyone to project messages and draw on building walls, asphalt and facades of everyday outdoor structures using a laser pointer. This project brought into question the nature of public/private space, municipal regulations, and the role of advertising in public space, through the use of digital arts and technology. We mounted the system on a bike trailer and set up projections in East Van alleys, downtown, at the Maritime Museum and at several events, including Liveable Laneways and the New Forms Festival.  A good range of participants, from kids to their grandparents, dropped by or wandered over when they noticed something interesting and had a great time trying their hand at laser graffiti. We even had a dad with his three kids stick around with us until we shut down at midnight – those lucky kids have a cool dad!


Green Footprint -In 2010, we joined 20 other cities across the world in’s EARTH climate change art project and created a public art intervention that was photographed from space. The VPSN teamed up with local artists, Josh Hite and Justine Chambers, who created the concept of a large footprint, that from above seems as though a huge, city-scale human figure is paused, facing the city and the mountains. The installation called attention to a number of themes:a visual pun on the ‘ecological/carbon footprint’ concept; the shoe print reflects the urban impact we generate; and that we are all striving to diminish our impact – hence, the idea of a green footprint against a green background. The lack of visibility is also a tribute to those of us who continue with unseen acts towards sustainability – be it in our work, in our lives, or both. Such acts also include the hundreds of brave volunteers who cut their sleep short and braved an arctic snap that froze the city that morning. Some even traveled to Vancouver from the US just to take part in this historic event!

Graffiti Research Lab –
Improv Everywhere –
Instant Coffee –