Vancouver Public Space Network - News & Events | October 2017
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Public Space News & Events - October 2017
Autumn is here and Vancouver’s streets are lined with a palette of red, orange, yellow and brown – wearing the fall colours of leaves as they turn a different hue. The rainy season may be here - but although many of fun public space activities of summertime have wound down, there’s still lots on the go as we shift seasons.

The VPSN crew are busy at work on a number of activities – some of which we’re leading, others of which we are lending a hand. This month sees the return of our annual Halloween SkyTrain Party and the launch of our Civic Buildings project. We’ll also be supporting other initiatives looking at transforming Gastown and the future of parks. Along the way, we’ll continue to explore, celebrate and advocate for good quality public space in all our work. Read on for other stories on Indigenous place-naming, the upcoming By-election (and candidate positions on public space activations), seasonal effective design, and everybody’s favourite public art poodle.  

Wishing you a happy harvest season! 

~Team VPSN


Civic Buildings explorer's day + Call for Volunteers – Sunday, October 15

This coming Sunday, October 15, the VPSN and a team of volunteers will be taking to the streets to explore a selection of Vancouver’s indoor public spaces.

As part of our new Civic Buildings portfolio, we'll be exploring libraries, community centres, galleries, educational buildings and other indoor spaces that perform a civic function.

Using a toolkit we've designed, participants will visiting the buildings and measuring their sense of "publicness" by considering factors such as accessibility, diversity of users and governance. The event takes place 1pm-4pm. Meeting location TBD.

:: Read the full article on the VPSN Blog
:: For more details or to participate, please email


VanPlay Smart City Talks – October 17 and November 1

What will Vancouver’s parks and public spaces look like in 25 years, or a century? The VPSN has been honoured to be part of two of the VanPlay Smart City Talks and are delighted to share details of the next lecture, taking place on Tuesday, October 17 @ 6:30pm covering the themes of Ecology and Nature.
This lecture explores the ecological and environmental sustainability dimensions of parks and public spaces in urban environments with two leading experts: Melina Scholefield, Manager of the City’s Green Infrastructure Implementation, and Apfelbaum, Senior Ecologist, Founder & Chairman of Applied Ecological Services.
A little further along, the VPSN’s Andrew Pask will be back moderating the following lecture on November 1, covering the theme of Celebration and Diversity. Details on this event will be shared shortly.
:: Register for the event Ecology and Nature event


Imagine Gastown Streets – Saturday, October 21

Gastown’s streets are in need of repair, and the City of Vancouver has identified this as a unique opportunity to consider the future of the area, and create a plan for the streets and transportation network.

To help with these explorations, the City is holding a day-long open house, along with walking tours and workshops. Themes include heritage, business, active transportation, laneways and community building – with the VPSN leading a session on public space opportunities.
Drop by the Woodward’s Atrium to learn more about the project during the open house. Walking tours and workshop activities require registration as space is limited.
:: Read the full article on the VPSN Blog
:: Register for walking tours and workshop 
:: For more information - City of Vancouver webpage


Halloween SkyTrain Party - Friday, October 27

It's ba-aaaack. Hold the date for our annual Halloween-themed celebration (and transformation) of the SkyTrain.

Specific details are still being finalized, but the general idea is the same as before: you dress up in your wildest Halloween attire (scary, sassy, sexy, serious… or just plain strange, your call!), meet us at the starting station, and together we ride the crazy train! Tricks and treats come served with a sweet sound system and the musical madness of our resident DJ Rocky Fi$her.
We’ll be posting updates via the VPSN Facebook Group and Page, and this website, so please stay tuned!

:: Read the full article on the VPSN Blog


Indigenous Naming and Re-naming

Last week, City Council passed an important motion that we wanted to share with you. It relates to the (re)naming of both the plaza next to Queen Elizabeth Theatre (usually referred to as QE Plaza) and the recently redesigned North Plaza at the Art Gallery, (which, in addition to “the North Plaza” has had a few other names over the years, including Centennial Plaza, and Old Courthouse Square).

Naming and renaming are powerful symbolic acts that can play a role in strengthening the goals of reconciliation between settler and First Nations cultures. Vancouver is not alone here. Whether retitling streets or buildings previously named for proponents of racist policy (Ottawa), supplementing colonial place names with their indigenous parallels (Toronto), or adding indigenous place-based symbols to city flags, municipalities (and other levels of government) across the country are taking a step forward. These are pivotal gestures – part of many such acts that will need to take place over the next few years and decades.

:: Read the full article on the VPSN Blog


Seasonal Effective Design – Placemaking for the Rainy Months

Hey, do you want to support a great local placemaking venture? Our friends at Frida & Frank have been enlivening public spaces around town with their pop-up Ping Pong tables. We had them at our Laneway Living Room event in August, and you’ve probably also seen them at the new Adanac & Vernon plaza. They do great work.
Like us, they’re also concerned with the plight of our public spaces come the rainy season… and they’ve decided to launch an initiative to encourage wintertime placemaking.  
They call their initiative Seasonal Effective Design and, as part of it, are looking at a variety of ways to enhance the Vernon and Adanac space during the darker months – including weather-proofing, events, and lots more colour. To support this, they’ve recently launched a crowd-funding campaign. If you’ve got a few extra bucks, please consider supporting this worthwhile venture!
:: Read the full article on the VPSN Blog
:: Visit the Frida & Frank Crowdfunding Page 

Creative Mornings – By-Election Candidate Survey

Our pal Mark Busse (host of Creative Mornings Vancouver, and fab MC for our Last Candidate Standing event back in 2014) has recently sent a survey out to all of the candidates running for a Council seat as part of the upcoming by-election. One of the questions concerns public space:

“Have you supported public space activations in Vancouver, and will you in the future? (i.e. closures of 800 Robson and Bute/Robson for public space plazas, laneway activations, etc.)”

All nine candidates answered – and you can read the response to this and other questions on Mark’s blog. Once you’ve done that, please remember to cast your ballot! Election Day is October 14.

:: Creative Mornings - By-election Council Candidates Survey
:: How to Vote - City of Vancouver By-election webpage


Under the Poodle, Part 1: Find your Esther…

A short essay on neighbourliness and public art, VPSN Board member Stina Hansen
Moving can be great for a whole bunch of reasons: new space to figure out how your life fits into, and a new neighbourhood with a lot of things to discover in the process.

This summer I moved to Mount Pleasant and found a ton of new public spaces to explore. Some of them I knew (the great parklet in front of Devil May Wear), but others I had never even talked through, let alone spent time in. I also discovered Poodle Park, (underneath the somewhat infamous Main Street Poodle statue by Gisele Amantea). Despite the controversy surround this canine-themed public art installation (or maybe partially as a result of it?) this mini-park the is one of my favourite little spots in the neighbourhood.

It was here, while sitting in the park and gazing up at the poodle, that Esther walked up and said hello...
:: Read the rest of Stina's story on the VPSN Blog



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