One of the City of Vancouver’s most exciting major urban planning projects underway is the Downtown Public Space Strategy which aims to develop a mix of vibrant public spaces downtown. You can expect to see and utilize new and improved public spaces, places and experiences throughout the downtown corridor in the coming years. That includes plazas, squares, streets, laneways, pathways, waterfronts and parts of retail or office buildings.
How will Downtown culture evolve? What will our city look like? Public spaces are a big part of shaping a growing city as they foster community values and serve as social hubs. The Places for People Downtown program opens up dialogue between the experts, the City and its residents. It will focus on public space opportunities and connections in the following seven Downtown Vancouver hubs:
7 The Central Business District
6 Coal Harbour
5 West End
4 Downtown South
2 False Creek North
1 Northeast False Creek
The initiative is headed by the Planning, Urban Design and Sustainability Department of the City. The work program for the project will take up to 18 months to create ideas, gather feedback, develop a strategy and pitch the City Council.
- Summer 2017: Launch – vision, values, and favourite places
- Fall 2017: Public space and public life study, policy testing
- Winter- Spring 2018: Strategic directions
- Summer – Fall 2018 – Draft strategy and report to Council
“The Downtown is growing and changing along with the lifestyles of the population that lives, works and plays there. We want to look at the types of spaces people want and need, and develop a more coordinated approach that is centred on people to deliver public space and connect it to walking, cycling and transit.” – Gil Kelley, General Manager of Planning, Urban Design and Sustainability.
With a higher demand for family-friendly, functional and fun public spaces, the comprehensive strategy for Downtown looks at development and delivery of public spaces over the next 30 years. The three-pronged approach focuses on:
- Public space in the street right-of-way
- Wider sidewalks
- Street-to-plaza conversions
- Laneway improvements
- Public spaces on City-owned / other public land
- Open spaces
- Privately-owned public spaces
- Retail and office plaza
So how can you have your say on the future of Downtown public spaces?
- Share your favourite places for people on the City’s idea map. You can map your favourite public spaces and share your vision for places with potential. Comment and rate other people’s places and ideas in the community. Some outside-the-box ideas and improvements mapped so far include:
- floating platform at False Creek
- Denman patio space
- improved pedestrian crossing Coal Harbour to English Bay (Bute Street)
- utilize Alexandra Park
- additional trees/temporary seating at Jack Pool Plaza
- Carrall Street night market, farmers market, street market, skateboard events, food trucks, painted street, outdoor movie etc.
- Walk the talk with City planners on a walking tour of public spaces, parks, streetscapes and more. Don’t be shy to ask questions and offer input to the civic workers in charge of downtown’s amenities, features and overall vibe. Details and registration on Eventbrite (FREE but limited spaces)
- July 20 @ 6pm – Yaletown, Roundhouse Community Centre Pavilion
- July 22 @ 11am – West End (Denman & Davie Street), West End Community Centre
- July 22 @ 2pm – Granville Street, Vancouver City Centre Station (Canada Line)
- July 27 @ 6pm – Coal Harbour, The Perch Lot 19 (Hornby Plaza)
- Level up from an internet troll and take the online survey to share your views and ideas about public spaces downtown! Make your voice heard on how you want your public spaces to look and function, it’s your community! Questionnaire takes approximately 10 minutes to complete and closes August 7, 2017.
Visit the City of Vancouver for more information.
By Amar Mirchandani @amarmirch