Posted by: jillianglover | November 30, 2012

Results of City Council’s vote on Robson Square

Vancouver City Council met last night to decide on the future of Robson Square. The City voted to re-open the 800 block of Robson Street to traffic for the time being, after reviewing the results of a public engagement process that involved several events, meetings and a survey that showed almost 70 percent support for a permanent public square (2800 people took the survey – the highest participation rate of any city survey).

“There is clear public support and the site has strong potential as a permanent public square, however we need options around the transportation impacts identified, in tandem with developing design and programming options for the space,” said a representative presenting to Council on behalf of the City’s Viva Vancouver program.

Council voted in favour of reopening the 800 block in order to allow staff time to work on addressing these issues. In addition, city staff will co-lead an increamental approach for a permanent public square on 800 Robson and report back to Mayor and Council on an overarching strategy in preparation for the 2013 summer closure.

Vancouver Public Space Network’s Heather Forbes was at the meeting to present VPSN’s position and read our letter, stating our opposition to the reopening of Robson Street to traffic, as well as our support for staff’s continued work on addressing the issues raised by the public and reporting back to Council on impacts, challenges and opportunities for potentially creating a permanent public square on 800-block Robson Street.

VPSN has developed a report to share with City staff on successful public squares with an emphasis on those in rainy climates. We have also reiterated our commitment to support the City in developing innovative community fundraising strategies that will help realize this square, and of course, offered expertise in pulling off engaging, low cost, events and interventions in public space.

The good news is that a firm timeline has been identified, and that the VPSN has offered assistance to the City in resolving its outstanding issues.VPSN has worked tirelessly for years, advocating on behalf of Vancouver citizens who love public space and want a permanent public square in the heart of the city. We feel that we are getting closer to this goal and we will continue to engage the public on this issue in anticipation of the City’s reporting back to Council this summer.

Thank you for your continued support!


  1. Here is my proposal for Robson Square:

    Elevating Robson Square
    A simple circular plaza, elevated over Robson Street
    A large new space for gathering and temporary installations
    Accessed by stairs and spiral ramps
    Contains numerous glass panels to minimize shading
    Allows buses to pass through on Robson Street
    Provides shade and weather protection on Robson Street
    Enables pedestrian bridges over Hornby Street and Howe Street, to connect to adjacent buildings – Sears/Nordstroms, for example
    An iconic piece of architecture

    I have made an illustration of my concept, but I do not know how to attach it to this post.

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