troutlake-1

Trout Lake (aka John Hendry Park) is currently undergoing a master planning process – aimed at developing a strategy to oversee “how the park may evolve over the next 10 to 15 years.”

As part of this process, the Park Board is looking for community input on a number of key issues – and has developed a short on-line survey for people to share their thoughts.

Among other things, they want to know:

  • What you enjoy most about the park;
  • What you believe are the biggest issues or challenges it currently faces;
  • Whether you are supportive of reconnecting TroutLake to its natural watershed by allowing treated stormwater to enter the lake?
  • Whether you support the idea of increasing biodiversity and restoring natural habitats for birds and wildlife?
  • Whether there are existing park activities or amenities that you would like to see changed or improved;
  • Whether there are there new activities or amenities that you would like to see added;
  • Other thoughts you may have on the future of the park.

You can take the survey here, but don’t delay – deadline for input is midnight, Friday, November 1, 2013.

:: City of Vancouver Trout Lake webpage
:: Trout Lake online feedback form

Posted by: VPSN | October 24, 2013

City: Mountain View Cemetery to host All Souls events

Mountainview 3

The following media release was distributed via the City today.

The City of Vancouver’s Mountain View Cemetery will host a series of events that honour the dead through ceremony and celebration with the 9th annual All Souls which runs October 26 to November 2.

All Souls offers the public an opportunity to remember their dead, whether they are interred at Mountain View Cemetery or not, in a gentle atmosphere of contemplative beauty.

The week of events, curated by artists Paula Jardine and Marina Szijarto, feature music, art, demonstrations and memorial-making workshops.

All Souls launches on October 26 from 6 to 10 pm at the cemetery’s Celebration Hall (Fraser Street at East 39th Avenue). The family-oriented evening will include music and warming fires. The cemetery registry will also be open for locating specific graves on site.

Programming at Mountain View Cemetery throughout the week includes:

  • October 27 at 7 pm: The Threshold Choir honour the tradition of bedside singing
  • October 30 at 7 pm: Demonstration of the sugar skulls tradition
  • October 31 at 7, 8 or 9 pm: The Little Chamber Music Series that Could presents the world premiere of Canadian Nicole Lizée’s latest work
  • November 1 from 7 – 9 pm: Display of the artist-created Shrines for Dia de Muertos and traditional Mexican music by El Mariachi

From October 27 to November 1, Celebration Hall will also be open nightly from 6 – 9 pm for memorial making.

For more details on events, visit: vancouver.ca/mountainview.

If you want to get people talking in Vancouver, just propose a new bike lane. Once again, residents are buzzing over a proposal for a Seaside Greenway to complete missing links in the Seawall, providing public access to the waterfront from Coal Harbour around Stanley Park and out to Spanish Banks.

Currently, these missing sections mean that cyclists share a space that is often crowded with park visitors on sunny weekends or, they ride on sections of the road with vehicles.

The Parks Board recently proposed to construct a series of bike paths through local parks to continue the practice of separating pedestrians from bikes, rollerblades or other park visitors who choose to move themselves in modes other than walking or running. The controversy surrounds a section of the proposed path for the busy Hadden and Kitsilano Beach parks in the Kits Point neighbourhood.

The VPSN supports the development of the seawall and Seaside Greenway so that it can continue to be the most popular tourist attraction and high quality local hang out. However, the report outlining the proposed Seaside Greenway did not provide a detailed design or layout of the proposed path and the preliminary routing was explained in a manner that emphasized that there will be more detailed study and design work to determine the final routing and address the issues of public concern. As a result, people have filled the gaps in the report with their own ideas or worst nightmares.

The Vancouver Parks Board has recently announced that it will form an advisory committee on the project. The VPSN supports this move and the possibility for the project to be enhanced when the Parks Board and locals get together to learn from each other.

After reviewing the proposal, the VPSN supports the larger concept of a completed seawall and Seaside Greenway, as it was first proposed back in 1928 by Harland Bartholemew and more recently, a few decades ago by the Parks Board.

Connecting the missing sections of the seaside greenway is important for a livable and comfortable city where people of all ages and abilities can feel safe and welcome to walk, or run, walk their dog or bike, roller blade or skateboard for a considerable distance along some very scenic and well-loved Vancouver waterfront.

The key to developing any of the proposed sections of the greenway network through parkland will be to limit impacts on existing conditions like mature trees and amenities for park visitors. The next few months are important to get it right for all Vancouverites. We look forward to hearing more on the details of the proposal.

Granville Street - P1060147

Summertime market on Granville Street – July 2013

[From the media release issued today by the City of Vancouver]

“Vancouver-based community groups are invited to apply to activate the Downtown Granville corridor next summer.

Buses will be re-routed from Granville street every weekend in the summer and the street open to community events and activations.

Propose a festival, street market, dance lessons, or another creative way to bring the street to life in the sunshine. Deadline to apply: Tuesday, November 19th.”

vancouver.ca/viva

North Plaza - Bark Mulch

The deadline for providing feedback on the three design options that have been developed for the North Plaza of the Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG) is this coming Tuesday, October 22.  We encourage VPSN members and public space enthusiasts to take a few moments to look at the three design options and let the City know your thoughts.

You can view the three concepts here:

(1) Wet

(2) Active Edge

(3) Plalo Ring

For each of the design options, the City is looking to understand

  • Your overall impressions
  • How safe you think you’d feel in the space
  • How you imagine the space might be used
  • Whether you think the concept has enough open space, green space and places to sit
  • What you like most and what you like least about the design
  • Any things you think are missing

It’s important to note that the City isn’t trying to ‘pick a winner’ at this point. Rather, the intent is to identify what works – or doesn’t – in each of the three, and then look to developing a more refined concept. Presumably this means there’s the potential to combine aspects of the designs or introduce new features that aren’t currently part of the design(s).

This latter point is, we think, pretty important. After taking the time to review the options, canvas our members, and assess the public commentary that has been circulating, we feel that there’s more work yet to be done.

First, and most importantly, we support the redesign of the North Plaza. The current bark mulch swamp is discouraging at best – an unsightly blight on one of the City’s oldest and most important public spaces. While the present redesign efforts are largely motivated by membrane issues on the site (water leaking into the VAG storage vaults), the real truth is that the site has needed a revamp for some time.

With that in mind, we think it’s critically important that the design effort ‘gets it right.’  This means starting with a clear and complete set of principles and objectives to guide the design process. You can see some of the City’s background material on these considerations via Open House boards on “What Makes a Great Public Space?” and Project Background and Objectives.  We think this background material is a good start; however one question we are asking ourselves is this:

  • Are there priorities amongst these principles and objectives?
  • Are these principles, background details and objectives complete – or are there items that have been missed?

These are questions that we’d encourage VPSN members to think about as they take the survey.

Our initial take – summarized only briefly here – is that the three designs succeed in advancing the discussion around transforming the North Plaza. They all strive towards creating a flexible, hard-surface space that can be used for a variety of purposes, and which should – with the right programming support – be able to support a variety of activities, both passive and active in nature.

North Plaza Concept - Wet

Option 1: “Wet”

North Plaza Concept - Active Edge

Option 2: “Active Edge”

But we also feel that all three designs could be more ambitious and integrated in nature.  Not necessarily ambitious in a ‘big budget’ sort of way (this project is actually pretty lean in its finances) but more ambitious in the way that they respond to the public space needs of the city. At least two of the three designs advance a design that, illustrative renderings aside, reads like too much Big Flat Space. More work needs to be done to create a balanced sense of enclosure and sufficient visual interest, so that the space doesn’t drift into the same difficulties currently faced by QE Theatre Plaza or the North Plaza of the Library.

North Plaza Concept - PLALO Ring

Option 3: “PLALO Ring”

The third option (the PLALO Ring) appears to have generated the most public enthusiasm. Its defining feature is a giant suspended ring – making it bolder than anything else currently found in a Vancouver plaza. Bold is good, we think – but is it boldness of the right kind? Does it complement the Rattenbury (Art Gallery) building or detract from it? Does it provide a sufficient response to Georgia Street? Is there enough to the design besides the ring?  And given the staging needs that come with major events, is it technically feasible – or will it get it actually reduce the flexibility of the site?

As noted above, we’re in the midst of putting together a longer response to the VAG redesign concepts. We’ll be exploring these and other questions in that document.

In the meantime, if you’ve got any ideas to share please be sure to send them our way – via robsonsquare [at] vancouver.ca.

Posted by: VPSN | October 16, 2013

2013 Halloween SkyTrain Party

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2011 Halloween SkyTrain Party – Photo by Lydi@ Yan

It’s baaaaack!

Ladies and gentleman, get your make-up ready. The annual Halloween SkyTrain Party returns for the seventh year on Thursday, October 31, 2013.

Gather your friends, get your scariest and sassiest costumes together, and get ready to jump on the Canada Line for public transit experience like no other. Your job: help us to transform a regular ol’ train ride to Richmond into a bit of ghoulish magic!

The night of transit terror includes:

  • On-deck action and a spankingly awesome soundtrack via DJ Rocky Fi$her – Soundcloud | Facebook)
  • Snappy decorations, tasty treats
  • The best-dressed crew of public space loving ghouls and goblins on the continent

After the event is done, join us as we cross Cordova Street and set up an awesome after-party … just a few steps away.

DETAILS:

  • Meet at Waterfront StationCanada Line Platform – Thursday, October 31 at 8:00pm
  • WAIT for the signal (so you get on the right train!).  We’ll be leaving at approximately 8:15pm
  • When we return to Waterfront, follow the VPSN team and join us at the not-so-secret after-party location

SOME THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND:

Please party respectfully so we can make sure this bit of annual Halloween fun continues well into the future! We love our Canada Line and our SkyTrains … and they love us. Keep this in mind as we party it up in public space. This means:

  • Don’t forget to buy your ticket.  Fare details available on the Translink website.
  • Be kind to the nice train that will carry us on our loop.  The after party location will require us to exit the train fairly quickly, please remember to pack out whatever you bring with you.
  • Please do not crowd the crew or equipment – we need to do a super quick set-up and tear-down
  • Please be especially nice to any folks who will be joining us along the way – and invite them to join in the fun!
  • And if you se ’em, remember to say hello and thank you to the kind folks at Translink and the Canada Line who make the public transit system run!

STAY IN TOUCH

Please be sure to check out our VPSN.ca blog or Facebook event page on the day-of in case there are any additional updates.

Want to help out?! For volunteer opportunities and more information please email: info@vancouverpublicspace.ca

Do you do the twitter? Let us know via our @vpsn account – and the #skytrainparty hashtag.

Upload your photos to Flickr at tag them “skytrainparty”

ABOUT THE DJ

We’re stoked to have DJ Rocky Fi$her join us for the 2013 SkyTrain Party and after-party.

DJ Rocky Fi$her

Rocky spins a wide variety of bass music genres: danceable electro, drum and bass, moombacore, drumstep, dubstep, hardstyle & trap. Creating mashups and live remixing, Rocky’s shows weave a tapestry of genres and bring a vibrant energy and soulful mood. Our versatile SkyTrain DJ is a crowd-favourite. Known for her colourful costumes and spirited performances, she puts on a show that delights, entertains and makes you move your feet!

Posted by: VPSN | October 11, 2013

And the winners are…

NNE Vancouver poster banner

The VPSN contest winner selection team convened earlier today.  Their mission: pick the winners of our Living the New Economy contest.

A sizeable bundle of correct entries were put in a large blue mixing bowl, randomized and then selected. Up for grabs were four sets of tickets to the keynote event at next week’s Living the New Economy conference.

Congratulations to the following four individuals, each of whom win a pair of tickets:

  • Michael Alexander
  • Mike Dror
  • Jason McDougall
  • Lianne Carley

Our super tough, skill-testing question asked entrants to name the Vancouver director who will be sharing the stage with Portland placemaking expert Mark Lakeman during the keynote. The answer is Ian MacKenzie (of Occupy Love fame).

Of course, the Lakeman / Mackenzie keynote event is only a small part of the magic at the Living the New Economy event.  If you haven’t already had a chance to peruse the Living the New Economy webpage, we’d encourage you to take a look. There’s lots of other cool activities taking place over the six days between October 15 and October 20 – all worth checking out. You can get tickets for individual events, day-long passes and more.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter the competition!

Posted by: VPSN | October 10, 2013

Charles Marohn at SFU Harbour Centre – October 24

Charles Marohn - Strongtowns

Urban transportation expert and co-founder of Strong Towns Charles Marohn is in town later this month – and will be presenting a lecture at SFU Woodwards (NOTE: not SFU Harbour Centre, as we had erroneously posted).

As Gord Price notes, “Unlike many of speakers on urban transportation, Marohn is also a fiscal conservative who makes his case effectively to a small-government audience as much as to urban planners and engineers.” Some more bio: “Marohn is  a professional engineer and planner by training. He is is passionate about planning and small towns, but also brings a civil-engineering perspective that results in original ideas.”  Marohn is the author of  Thoughts on Building Strong Towns (Volume 1)writes for the Strong Towns Blog and hosts the Strong Towns Podcast.

You can sign up for the lecture here.

The event takes place:

Thursday, October 24, 7 pm
Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema
Goldcorp Centre for the Arts (at SFU Woodwards)
149 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC

Admission is free, but reservations are required.

Some additional background:

  • Youtube – where Marohn discusses his concept of ‘stroad’ –  the street/road hybrid that manages to be both expensive and unproductive.
  • TED Talk – “The Important Difference Between A Road and A Street”
Posted by: Simon | October 10, 2013

PS I Love U game day photos are online

Check out our VPSN Flickr page to see all the action!

Posted by: VPSN | October 8, 2013

Improving Citizens’ Access to Speak to City Council

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