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City takes bold next steps for advancing public spaces

March 29 2017

"The Downtown Places and Spaces Strategy will help us to go a step further and find even more places where people can meet, play, and find delight.”

People gathered at Jim Deva Plaza with the Speaker's Corner Megaphone

Today the City of Vancouver took an exciting step to build off of its innovative VIVA Vancouver initiatives and advance public spaces by initiating the development of a Downtown Places and Spaces Strategy.
 
“We are thrilled with the vibrant, inviting spaces that have been created through the VIVA Vancouver program,” says Jerry Dobrovolny, General Manager of Engineering. “From sidewalks to alleyways, we’ve been creating really innovative public places that provide space for people to connect with their city and with each other. The Downtown Places and Spaces Strategy will help us to go a step further and find even more places where people can meet, play, and find delight.” 

VIVA Vancouver

VIVA Vancouver has trialed a variety of public space interventions over the years to animate public spaces in easy to implement but highly exciting ways. Two examples are:

  • Parklet Program - platforms which extend over a parking space, and can include benches, tables, chairs, landscaping, and bike parking
  • Laneway Project - in partnership with the DVBIA

Last year, two VIVA Vancouver pilots were officially turned into permanent plazas now known as Jim Deva Plaz” and the future 800-Robson plaza by the Vancouver Art Gallery. 

In 2017, VIVA Vancouver will launch a "streatery" pilot, a Street Vendor Collective with 20 vendors set up at six vending locations downtown, and an expansion of the Parklet Program. 

Downtown Places and Spaces Strategy

The successes of VIVA will be leveraged in the development of a new Downtown Places and Spaces Strategy.

This overarching strategy will aim to foster exceptional, vibrant, and memorable public spaces, places, and experiences in the downtown area.

Social interaction and creative expression in public spaces benefits our health, generates economic activity, and makes cities more vibrant and inspiring.

The strategy will also allow for a coordinated approach to delivering public space initiatives in the downtown and is a first step in exploring Council’s direction to pursue a City Core 2050 Vision. 

This summer, we will be engaging with residents on both programs. VIVA Vancouver will be asking what new ideas it can innovate for potential future programs, while the Downtown Places and Spaces Strategy will begin to delve into a longer term vision and values to identify favourite places in Vancouver’s Downtown.