Posted by: VPSN | September 7, 2011

Public Space News & Events – Sept 7, 2011

Labour Day is past, and while the traditional end-to-summer activities are on people’s minds, we’re about to head into a heat-wave! How about that for delayed reaction?

The VPSN has a number of things on the go, and wanted to pass along some upcoming items, announcements and meeting notices that will be of interest. Themes de jour include surveillance, graffiti, parks and greenspaces, and the election.

Expanding Robson Square – Update

First things first though, a quick update on our Robson petitions. September 6 marked the reintroduction of the Number 5 bus to the 800-block of Robson. Our hope, ultimately, is that the issue of transit routing (and alternatives) can be investigated as part of the creation of an expanded Robson Square. But for the moment, buses and other vehicles have crowded onto the street again.

The VPSN released a short press release noting that over 1,800 people to date have signed our petition calling for the permanent closure of the 800-block to vehicular traffic. While the petition is not a scientific instrument, it does give a good sense of where people’s sentiments lay in this regard. By contrast, only 40 people to date have signed the petition calling for the re-opening of the street.

As VPSN Board member Josh Paterson notes, “For the past two years, the 800-block has been closed to vehicles and Robson Square’s role as a public gathering place has become further enriched through buskers, community markets, and great activities like Picnurbia,” said VPSN board member Josh Paterson. “The expanded public space has enlivened the downtown core and demonstrated the exciting possibilities of an expanded Robson Square.”

Click here to read the complete press release.

If you haven’t already done so, please consider taking two minutes to sign either:

YES, I support the expansion of Robson Square and the closure of the 800-block to vehicular traffic.
NO. I want vehicles back on the 800-block of Robson. Please DO NOT expand Robson Square.

Saturday September 10 – Sunday September 11 – Laser Graffiti @ the New Forms Festival
The VPSN Public Art crew will be bringing the laser graffiti setup to the New Forms Festival this Friday and Saturday evenings, taking place at the Waldorf hotel on E. Hastings.  This is an awesome festival and we’re glad to be part of a crew of some 40-50 digital / new media artists that will be transforming the excellent Waldorf space inside and outside space with art, technology and more.

:: For more information –

Tuesday, September 14 – Public Spaces as Democratic Spaces

Please join us for the first meeting of newly (re)formed Democratic Spaces Working Group.  We’re re-booting this Working Group just in time for the upcoming civic election and are looking to engage with local political aficionados to promote some very cool, very non-partisan VPSN activities.

Join VPSN Democratic Spaces Anthony Hamilton for a roll-up-the-sleeves discussion on how to promote civic engagement with the election… and how to profile the importance of public space within the municipal process.  For time and location details, please contact us directly.

:: For more information – Anthony [at]

Friday, September 16 – PARK(ing) Day

The VPSN contribution to Parking Day 2011 (our 4th year on this initiative!) is shaping up nicely. Come on out to Cambie and 8th and chill out in our “Urban Rec Room” – a transformation of parking spaces to lounge spaces. Visitors to our PARK(ing) Day site will have access to a couch, table, chairs, coffee table, bookshelf, books, and Scrabble, surrounded by orange cones (safety first!). We’re also looking to do a bit of community asset mapping on parks issues. And last but not least, a lovely librarian from the Mount Pleasant branch will stop by with some great coffee table books, and provide opportunities for visitors to sign up for a new card or have their library fines waived.

:: To find out more or to lend a hand – simon [at]
:: Official Facebook Event:


Surveillance and CCTV are back in the news in the wake of the three Riot reports that just got released. We’ll have more on this specific subject shortly, but in the meanwhile there are a couple of interesting events to pass along:

Saturday, September 10 – Sunday, September 11 – Beyond Surveillance @ New Forms Festival
Surveillance technologies surround ones every day activity, from security measures to the ongoing monitoring of our daily activities. In many downtowns, the video camera represents the constant reminder of these ongoing activities, and question issues of freedom of movement, expression and privacy.

Beyond Surveillance examines “Artistic strategies against video surveillance”. It is a programme of short videos curated by Manu Luksch of, which looks at ways in which artists have used the video surveillance technology and beyond for alternative purposes.

:: For more, visit:

Thursday, September 15 – Premier of Article 12: Waking Up in a Surveillance Society
Media Democracy Day Vancouver, Open Media and W2 Community Media Arts Society present the Vancouver premiere Screening and panel discussion of “Article 12: Waking Up in a Surveillance Society.” The film presents a sharp look at the current state of privacy and debates around the rights and desires of individuals, governments, terrorism and the increasing accessibility and use of surveillance. Featured interviews with Noam Chomsky, Amy Goodman, & Brian Eno

The event starts at 7:30pm at the W2 Media Café (111 W. Hastings). The panel discussion (featuring Micheal Vonn, Kate Milberry and others) takes place at 8:30pm. $10, $5 Students/Low-income, No one turned away for lack of funds

:: To register –
:: For more information –


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