Recent developments with this project
January 25, 2013 - VIVA Vancouver is seeking designs from Vancouver’s creative community! As per Council’s direction, staff prepare for a summertime public plaza on 800 Robson Street, launching in late June 2013.
Are you interested in partnering with VIVA Vancouver on the temporary transformation of 800 Robson Street into a summertime public plaza?
NOTE: Public concerns regarding the #5 Robson bus re-route are under review with TransLink.
November 28, 2012 - City Council approves staff recommendations to temporarily re-open 800-block Robson Street to vehicle traffic on 1 December 2012 until the summer seasonal closure. City staff will continue to work on addressing issues raised by the public on challenges and opportunities for creating a permanent public square at this location.
- Read the full staff report in the Documents tab.
- Read the summary of the public consultation in the Details tab.
November 2, 2012 - Consultation summaries
Our public consultation events, held at the Vancouver Art Gallery, are now complete. Read the Details tab to get summaries of these two events.
November 1, 2012- Public survey now available (closes 12 November)
We want to hear from you. Help shape the future of Block 51.Your feedback will be included in the report to City Council on 800-block Robson and will be given to the designers of the Vancouver Art Gallery North Plaza.
(Note: The future of the Vancouver Art Gallery is not part of the discussion.)
October 17, 2012 - A Look Forward
Vancouver Art Gallery, 7:00-10:00 p.m.
750 Hornby Street
Short and inspirational presentations will look at how this block has been used over the last few years and draw on inspiration from other cities.
October 15, 2012 - A Look Back
Vancouver Art Gallery, 7:00-10:00 p.m.
750 Hornby Street
The 1973 National Film Board film “Chairs for Lovers” and a panel with members of the original team for Robson Square will set the context of how this block came to be.
- Read the final summary of this event in the Details tab
October 4, 2012 - City staff are currently consulting with key stakeholders, including the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association and TransLink.
Reports and documents
Staff report to Council "800 Robson Street: Strategy for Moving Towards a Public Plaza"
Report date November 20, 2012; Meeting date November 28, 2012
City Council motion: Creation of a public square, 800 Robson Street
2040 Transportation Plan
The City’s draft transportation plan, Transportation 2040, includes policies and actions to enable: an active and healthy city, a reduction in traffic collisions to support a safe city, an accessible city for people of all ages and abilities, a range of options to help create a more affordable city, a vibrant public realm to foster a lively city, and a resilient city prepared to deal with global issues and unexpected events.
During the Transportation 2040 Phase 2 consultation program in the summer of 2012, over 10,000 people participated . The most common suggestions to support walking were to provide wider sidewalks and more public spaces.
Request For Expressions of Interest
For the last two summers, 800-block Robson has been transformed into a pedestrian plaza for the VIVA Vancouver Program. It was such a success that Council decided to close the block to vehicle traffic until the end of 2012, and asked City staff to investigate the public's interest in using the space as a permanent pedestrian plaza until the end of 2012 and into the future.
Robson Street is the responsibility of the City of Vancouver and Robson Square activities are coordinated by both the Province of BC and UBC.
Vancouver Art Gallery North Plaza
The goal of the City is to create a plaza that reflects the needs and desires of the public, respects its location at the historical entry to the Vancouver Art Gallery building and its relationship to Robson Square.
Currently the existing membrane underneath the North Plaza is degraded and water is leaking into the underground spaces of the Art Gallery. Because the plaza needs to undergo critical maintenance, the City is investigating how the space can be used before construction begins. The information collected
will be used to help redesign the site.
Prior to construction of the North Plaza, which is expected in 2014, a Development Permit will be required and the public will be consulted on the design.
The North Plaza is owned by the Province of BC and leased to the City for use. Activities on the North Plaza are currently coordinated by the City.
The Province of BC must approve any changes the City proposes to make to the North Plaza and is responsible for the maintenance of the fountain and the area immediately around it.
28 November 2012 - In summary of the Block 51 consultation, the City hosted two public events at the Vancouver Art Gallery seeking ideas on how both sides of Block 51 could be used in the future. The events were attended by 165 people and participants worked with architect Stanley King’s Co-design team. Illustrated ideas around use of space were then incorporated into an online and intercept survey, which was open to the public from November 1-12th, 2012. This resulted in over 2100 completed surveys. One of the key findings from the survey was that 64% of respondents had a preference for 800-block Robson to function as a permanent public space, while 17% preferred a summertime public space and 19% preferred only occasional closures of the street to traffic for special events.
The City hosted a stakeholder workshop on October 4, 2012 which was attended by 22 people representing a broad range of stakeholders, including TransLink, business associations, public space and active transportation advocates, the adjacent Robson Square facilities, seniors living in the West End, Tourism Vancouver, the local design community, the Province, and the Court Services Branch. Based on the key issues raised, staff conducted four smaller, more focused stakeholder meetings throughout the Fall with youth, the downtown and west end business communities, the adjacent Robson Square facilities, and seniors living in the West End. The key issues identified by stakeholders on the creation of a year-round public square relate to: 1) the downtown transportation network, 2) the overall ‘look and feel’ or design of the space and 3) programming for the space. The resolution of these issues is critical to the long term success of a permanent public square, thus demanding a flexible and incremental approach to planning.
15 October 2012 - Public event - “A Look Back”: Hosted by CBC Radio 1’s Shiral Tobin, included a screening of the 1973 National Film Board of Canada film Chairs for Lovers.
This was followed by a panel conversation with Stanley King, local architect who led a similar Co-Design process in the 1970s to gather input on the Robson Square development, as well as members of Arthur Erickson’s design team for Robson Square, Bing Thom, Alan Bell, and Nick Milkovich.
17 October 2012 - Public event - “A Look Forward”: Hosted by local inter/multi-disciplinary artist Vanessa Richards, included short and inspirational presentations that explored how this block has been used over the years, while drawing on experience from other cities.
- Civic historian John Atkin
- Lon LaClaire, the Manager of Strategic Transportation at the City of Vancouver
- Jenniffer Sheel and Krisztina Kassay from the City's VIVA Vancouver program
- Heather Forbes from the Vancouver Public Space Network
- Matthew Blackett from Spacing Magazine
- Pop Rocks designers Matthew Soules and Joe Dahmen
Both events ended in a Co-Design process, led by Stanley King, where artists illustrated participant’s thoughts on what future uses the 800-block of Robson and the Vancouver Art Gallery North Plaza could accommodate.
These events were presented in partnership with Spacing Magazine, the Vancouver Public Space Network and the Vancouver Art Gallery.
In four follow-up stakeholder sessions, City staff consulted with:
- The business community, including the Robson Street Business Improvement Association, Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association and West End Business Improvement Association.
- Robson Square facilities, including the Vancouver Art Gallery, UBC Robson Square, the Law Courts and the Province.
- West End Seniors
View illustrations and event photos