Posted by: VPSN | April 8, 2011

VPSN – Public Space News & Events – April 8, 2011

The latest edition of our newsletter — for your weekend reading pleasure!


  • Wednesday, May 4 – Turn V (with us)


  • An Expanded Robson Square – On the Cusp of a (Lost?) Opportunity?
  • Structures for Public Expression – Street Politics in Vancouver


  • Friday, April 8 – A City of Sustainable Neighbourhoods: how do we get there?
  • Saturday, April 16 – VPSN Guerrilla Gardening Planting Event!!
  • Tuesday, April 19 – VPSN Transportation Meeting
  • Tuesday, May 17 – The next 125 years?  An Urban Framework for Vancouver


  • VPSN Leadership Opportunities Available
  • Projects That Need a Hand…


  • Sunday, April 10 – Discover Downtown by Bike



Wednesday, May 4 – Turn V (with us)Time flies!  In May 2011, the Vancouver Public Space Network turns five whole years old. It seemed like only yesterday we were setting up that first meeting at the Roundhouse!

 Naturally, there’s only one appropriate response to this sort of thing: PARTY TIME!!!

 Please mark your calendars and plan to join us at the Bayside Lounge (Davie and Denman) as we celebrate this very special anniversary. We’ll be sending out a formal invitation very shortly and we’d be honoured if you’d come on out for the occasion.

:: Facebook event page  



An Expanded Robson Square – On the Cusp of a (Lost?) Opportunity

An update on the expansion of Robson Square (with thanks to the many of you who keep asking about it).  As you’ll recall, in December of last year City Council passed a motion that directed City staff to look into the creation of “major public square at 800 Robson Street to coincide with Vancouver’s 125th Anniversary.”

Those of you who have had the chance to walk along the recently re-paved and car-free street may have gotten a taste of the possibilities that exist in this space.  Imagine – the nice setting of the Art Gallery, buskers, a market, street musicians and more.  It’s the perfect place for a gathering space of this sort.  And the timing, given the Province’s renovations to the street, is near-perfect.

Sadly, we recently learned that this won’t likely be happening this year.  In the course of proposing some summertime programming on the site, we’ve been told by the City that Translink is quite concerned about any closure of the 800-block.  Our thoughts?  Be strong on this one City!  There are lots of ways to tackle the transit challenges that may exist. 

More to the point, we feel that would represent a significant lost opportunity for the city – and that an important  opportunity to close the space, or to even extend the temporary closure of the space while consultation and transit planning work takes place – is about to be given up.

If you have a few moments this weekend consider taking 5 minutes to write a short letter copied to Ian Jarvis, Translink CEO [] and Mayor Gregor Robertson [].  Your letters of support for the closure of the 800-block were part of the reason Council voted to support the idea. 

:: VPSN Flickr Set – Robson Square  


Structures for Public Expression – Street Politics in Vancouver

It was an interesting time at the Planning and Environment meeting of City Council yesterday.  On Wednesday, we published a story on how staff had come up with a plan to regulate political expression involving “any structure object, substance or thing.”  Later that day, we issued a joint press release with the BC Civil Liberties Associate, saying that we were opposed to this proposal on a number of grounds.

The tenor of the discussion yesterday – which you can watch here was fascinating.  Our read?  There was a tone of defensiveness that seemed to pervade much of the dialogue, and the exchange between the small number of speakers that had a chance to present and Council was at times nearly combative.  We are quite concerned about this issue.  A suggestion that the new proposal is “innovative” and ‘enables’ political expression – as was claimed in the City presentation – shows what we feel is a lack of understanding about why the City recently lost a recent Court of Appeal case on  this issue. 

We strongly encourage you to read up on this matter.  The session yesterday was reconvened to April 19 to hear from more speakers, so there’s still time for you to have your voice heard.

:: More information – VPSN Blog


Friday, April 8 – A City of Sustainable Neighbourhoods: how do we get there?

The Vancouver City Planning Commission invites you to an evening of exploration and celebration of what the idea of a sustainable neighbourhood means to Vancouver citizens. How can neighbourhoods best contribute to the evolution of a sustainable Vancouver? How can the City help neighbourhoods become more sustainable and livable?  The VPSN will be there and making a presentation, what else, public space.  The event takes place 7-10pm (Registration: 6:30 pm).  Vancouver Public Library Conference Centre (lower level) 350 West Georgia Street, Alice MacKay Room 


Saturday, April 16 – VPSN Guerrilla Gardening Planting Event!!

Fancy a bit of city-greening work?  Join us next Saturday at 3pm – 4pm for some top secret planting work.  You’ll need to bring supplies if you can!  That means round up any shovels, gloves, etc. that you can get your hands on.  We could also use some durable plants, so if anyone has any then please bring them or contact us and we can arrange to pick them up.  Please bring a $1-5 donation for participation and other supplies. This is an inclusive event – everyone is welcome!  Exact location details revealed upon registration.

:: For more information – leita [at]


Tuesday, April 19 – VPSN Transportation Meeting

Interested in transportation issues – walking, biking, transit and more?  Join the VPSN Transportation team as they meet to strategize on new projects and on-going work.  New ideas and new members welcome.  Meeting starts at 6:00pm, location TBD.

:: For more information – demian [at]

Tuesday, May 17 – The Next 125 years?  An Urban Framework for Vancouver

Join us for an evening of big picture thinking.  The VPSN is pleased to host a special presentation by Senior Urban Designer Scot Hein and the students of UBC SALA.  Hein, together with Professor Patrick Condon, conducted a workshop in the Fall of 2010 that was premised on the creation of a plan for the future of the City.  The plan sought to account for projected demographic changes in Vancouver, an 80% reduction in greenhouse gases, emerging best practices, such as district energy, all while connecting the city with the desirable urban systems – such as localized places for all neighborhoods/communities and electrified transportation.   Location TBD. More details to follow.


VPSN Leadership Opportunities Available

Hey – you’ve got the chops don’t you?  Passionate about public space, eager to help plan and coordinate projects, mobilize volunteers… make change in the city?

We have a few openings for coordinators right now and we’re looking for sharp, savvy, strategists who are willing to commit beyond one-project activity. 

Our wish list: some game-changers who can help us amp up campaigns around pedestrian issues, cycling and public transit, parks and urban design.


Projects That Need a Hand…

Hornby Bike Activation and Bike Music Festival

The separated lanes are ready for their spring activation. The sun has come out (a little) and we want the cyclists to come out too. Got energy and ideas around getting bums on bikes on Hornby and the other fab downtown lanes? Bike on over here!

Hastings Park Consultation Involvement

One of the city’s biggest parks, and a cultural/historical icon in many ways, the City is looking for input on the paths and greenspaces through Hastings Park. The VPSN is looking for folks that want to take some of the teams’ thoughts on this and interact in the process.

Feeding Vancouver’s Soul

The final phase of our esteemed Where’s the Square Competition, we aim to animate Robson Square to enliven it like the winning submissions from the contest. Centred around local food, urban farming and good old fashioned eating together, we need help pulling off this showcase of successful public plazas.

Newsletter & Blog Editor(s)

We’ve got lots to say, but man! we need someone to make better sense of it (and fix our grammar). Got editor eyes? We want you!

:: For more information – Erin [at]


Sunday, April 10 – Discover Downtown by Bike

Good times with our friends at the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition. Themed bike route maps will be distributed to visit all sorts of fun shops, attractions, and art through downtown, including promotions from Sun Yat-Sen Gardens and Panz Veggie Restaurant.

Meet at Starbucks at Hornby and Dunsmuir for a free coffee.  Gather at 1:00 for take off at 1:30.  (Oh, and Aveda will be there giving free hand massages).

:: More information –


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: