Posted by: VPSN | May 11, 2011

VPSN Public Space News and Events – 11 May, 2011

English Bay Balloons - - no attrib.

A modest public space intervention for the VPSN’s “Turn V” Party…
Photo by Christopher Turzak

Greetings to all on this soggy May 11.  And a special shout-out to the good folks of Pt. Grey who are heading to the polls a second time this month.  Thank you voters, for exercising your democratic rights!

And for your reading pleasure today, a healthy selection of upcoming public space events and opportunities, for your interest, edification and input. 

FEATURE EVENT – Tuesday, May 17 – The Next Big Plan.  Vancouver 2050…and Beyond!

Join us for an evening of big picture thinking.  The VPSN is pleased to host a special presentation by City of Vancouver Urban Designer Scot Hein, UBC Professor Patrick Condon, and a crack team of graduate students of UBC School for Landscape Architecture.  The group conducted a workshop in the Fall of 2010 that sought to create a plan for the future of Vancouver. 

The result is a radical vision for the future that accounts for big demographic changes, a massive reduction in greenhouse gases, the utilization of district energy systems, efficient transit networking, habitat and open-space linkages and the best practices of urbanism as currently understood.  This is a session that will be of interest to city-lovers of all stripes.  Please mark your calendars and plan to attend. 

Takes place at Kitsilano Neighbourhood House (West 7th and Vine) at 7:00pm.  Snacks will be served.  The presentation will be followed by an update on other VPSN projects and activities.  For more information – info [at]

Public Space Manifesto 2.011 – What’s Your Beef?

Another ‘big picture’ item!  The VPSN is in the process of developing our 2nd Public Space Manifesto – which we will be rolling out in the next couple of months (in the lead-up to the November municipal contest).

As with the last one, we want the v2.011 document to be the product of our collective ideas and expertise for Vancouver’s public realm.  The result will be a collection of policy suggestions that will be made available to all political candidates running for local office.

So, seeing as you spend a fair bit of time in the City’s public spaces, we want to know:

What ideas do you have for improving the city and its public realm?

What are your priorities for positive change in Vancouver’s urban environment?

This is an intentional broad question – and you can respond with big picture ideas, or specific ‘fixes’ at another scale.  Is there something about your local park, community centre or retail street or that you want to see changed?  Is there too much of one thing, and not enough of another?  How is the city doing as a whole? 

We interpret public space in a fairly wide fashion – it can include everything from streets, squares and parks, to institutional spaces, to transportation infrastructure and beyond.  So you can think big with your ideas too.  All we ask is this – if you’ve got a beef with something please tell us what the positive alternative is… because we want to frame the document as a series of positive steps to better Vancouver.

Send us your thoughts by Tuesday, May 26, 2011.  A couple of sentences on each point are all we need at the moment.

Turn V Thank You

Hey – we’d be remiss if we didn’t say a BIG thank you to all of you well-wishers.  The VPSN turned a great big five years old last Wednesday, and we had a wicked shindig at the Bayside Lounge to celebrate.  It was great to see so many people come out to the event – and we’re flattered by all the kind wishes that were sent our way.  We’re blushing!  Seriously though, it’s a great honour to collaborate with all of you.  So thank YOU for making this such a worthwhile endeavor.  Fuzzy pictures of the debauchery to follow shortly.


Tuesday, May 24 – Downtown Public Space Plan

Last December, City Council introduced a motion to create a Downtown Public Space Plan.  The VPSN is interested in exploring this idea from a research and advocacy perspective and has been exploring the key features of public space plans and the ways and means to inventory and assess public space.  Our next project meeting takes place at 630pm on Tuesday May 24. Location TBD. 

:: For more information – info [at]

Thursday, May 26 – Public Health/Public Space Project Meeting

The connections between health and the public realm are many and overlapping.  For the last few months, the VPSN has been developing a backgrounder on this subject, and exploring the various intersections between place and well-being.  Our next session takes place on Thursday May 26 at 630.  Open to all.  Location TBD.


Public Art Survey

VPSN member Michael Cox is requesting help with the following survey on public art.  Can you lend him a hand?  It’s for an MA thesis on the subject. 

:: Take the survey –

Help illustrate the final Greenest City Action Plan. Submit your photos today!

From the City of Vancouver: “First you contributed green ideas.  Then you commented on the draft action plans.  Now is your chance to add images in the Final Greenest City 2020 Action Plan!  Since the beginning, you’ve been such a big part of shaping the Action Plans that we thought it only fitting that your images help illustrate the plan, as well.
Images should be Vancouver specific or reflective of the ideas and actions outlined in the plan.  For inspiration, have a look at the draft actions under each of the Greenest City goals
Here’s how it works: (1) Become a member of the Greenest City flickr pool  (flickr is free to join); (2) Add your images to the pool.  (3) Please post images at the highest quality/size that you can; and choose a creative commons licensing so we can download them.   (4) Our designer will select photos from this pool to use in the final plan that will be distributed far and wide.  (5) If your image is selected, you will receive photo credits in the plan. For the online and pdf versions of the plan we will also include a link back to your flickr account. 
Everyone who submits a photo to the Flickr Pool before Thursday, May 12 will be entered to win one of 2 Greenest City Prize Packs.


Each newsletter we feature one or two of the cool events coming our way.  This time ‘round, its bikes and Great Streets that caught our attention. 

Monday, May 30 – “…On Broadway” Design Lecture

Broadway, extending across almost the entire city, is not only an important street for walking, living, shopping and work but is also one of Vancouver’s busiest transit corridors. How can we make it better?

The City of Vancouver and the SFU City Program are presenting a guest lecture from Allan Jacobs, former Director of City Planning for San Francisco and author of Great Streets, and Elizabeth Macdonald, Professor of Urban Design at the University of California, Berkeley. They will speak about best practices in street design and provide advice on the design of Broadway and how it could be a “Really Good” street, if not a “Great Street”. Takes place 7 pm – 9 pm, SFU Harbour Centre – Room 1400 (515 West Hastings Street). For details and to register for this free event, click here.

Tuesday, May 31 – Cycling in Vancouver: A Carbon Talks Brown-Bag Dialogue

What is the City of Vancouver doing to make its streets even more attractive to cyclists? What are the challenges and opportunities? Join Jerry Dobrovolny, the city’s director of transportation, for a frank “brown bag” dialogue focused on bikes in the city; feel free to bring your lunch!   Takes place 12:00pm – 1:00pm at SFU Harbour Centre, Room 2270, 515 West Hastings Street.

:: Please register at


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.

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