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

Welcome to the 2012-2014 VPSN Public Space Policy RouteMap

Vancouver’s public space – the streets, sidewalks, parks, plazas, libraries, civic spaces and broader urban environment – form a ubiquitous and critical part of the city as a whole. Regardless of who you are or where you live in the city, chances are you make use of public space, in one form or another, every day.

On November 19, 2011, residents of Vancouver selected their choice for Mayor, City Council, Park Board and School Board. Decisions made on Election Day will now shape how public space gets designed, maintained and funded over the next three years and beyond.

The Public Space RouteMap is intended as a means to give our elected officials, local political parties, grassroots organizations, voters and residents-at-large a sense of the critical issues for the city’s public realm and larger urban environment. The RouteMap is a collaborative effort, produced by the Vancouver Public Space Network with broad input from our membership and in consultation with various experts in urban issues.

This is the second Policy programme that we’ve produced. Our first, the 2008 Public Space Manifesto, continues to be a reference document and guidebook for public space policy related activities. Material from that edition has, in many cases, been updated to reflect changes that have occurred over the last few years.

How to read the Public Space RouteMap

The 2011 RouteMap refines the format of the 2008 Manifesto in a number of ways. We’ve scaled back the number of different themes and attempted to be more consistent in our presentation of goals, strategies and suggested ways to make them happen.

Each theme component starts with a summary – a character sketch – of a type of public space in Vancouver, or an attribute associated with public space. Each section then advances a goal which in turn helps to frame a series of specific strategies that we think our new City Council and Park Board should consider. We conclude with some suggested mechanisms – far from an exhaustive list, we realize – as to how the proposed strategies might become reality. We think that, with a little creativity, we can improve the city’s public realm – the public spaces and amenities in the city that we all share – in ways that are neither unattainable, nor unreasonably costly.

Over to you

One of the reasons we decided to produce the RouteMap is because people – politicians, planners, artists, urbanists, city-lovers and residents of all stripes – often ask for ideas on how to improve the public realm. In presenting an open response to this broad question we offer the contents of the RouteMap as a compilation of our thinking about successful public spaces in this city and elsewhere. We offer the document and the recommendations in it as a contribution to broader discussions on city-building, but also as a means to help others think through decisions on the commonwealth of our urban spaces. Good public space is a key element of the sustainability and livability of the city as a whole.


>> RouteMap Introduction
>> RouteMap Themes and Goals

1> Good spaces to congregate: ensuring more and better places to gather
2> Good spaces for connection: facilitating better, more active and sustainable ways for people to move
3> Natural spaces: for habitat, heritage and recreation
4> Spaces that are healthy, safe and welcoming
5> Spaces for culture, economy, learning and play
6> Spaces for expression and engagement