What sorts of public space related issues should Vancouver’s Council and Park Board be working on? We’ve clustered our response to this question around six key themes – and have itemized these (among with their associated goals actions) over the following pages. Each theme is connected with a type of space, or a quality associated with the way that people use public space. Combined, we feel that these offer the best way for City Council to improve Vancouver’s public realm between 2011 and 2014. In sum, these six themes are:
A legible network of plazas and gathering places, of varying shapes and sizes, distributed across each of Vancouver’s 22 neighbourhoods. The downtown should have a formal ‘heart’ – a grand gathering place in which a range of activities can take place year round. At a neighbourhood scale, there should be a series of smaller gathering spaces that reflect the character and needs of each area.
A strong application of a “complete streets” philosophy, that supports all modes of transportation, and ensures an emphasis on the three pillars of sustainable mobility: (1) a pedestrian-first focus on improving the city’s pathways (streets, sidewalks, footpaths) to promote walkability and pedestrian safety for all ages and abilities; (2) a continued strengthening of the city’s bike lane network along with outreach and education; and, (3) a continued push for improvements to the city’s transit network – particularly in areas with high demand and strained capacity.
A network of greenspaces that provides equitable access to nature for all residents, and fulfils a wide range of social, ecological and cultural functions.
Public spaces that support health and well-being, including various forms of active transportation, opportunities for social interactions and access to local food. Spaces should be safe and feel safe for everyone.
Planning and programming of public spaces that allows them to be flexible enough to support a wide range of activities – from artistic performance to cultural production, from local business to community markets, from the exchange of ideas to the trace of hopscotch and the scribble of sidewalk chalk.
Civic spaces and civic processes that invite deliberation and public expression, and support the notion of urban democracy.
>> 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