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Pop-ups, open doors, and block parties – looking back at public engagement in 2014

December 29 2014

Broughton Street block party

In April, 2014, the Mayor’s Engaged City Task Force report was presented to Council. The report contained 19 priority actions that City Hall could take to make Vancouver an engaged city. There were three distinct initiatives that took place in 2014, all sharing the same goal of increasing engagement throughout the city: Pop-up City Hall, Doors Open Vancouver, and block parties.

Pop-up City Hall

In May, 2014, Vancouver announced the launch of pilot program named Pop-Up City Hall. It was one of the Quick Start recommendations from the Mayor’s Engaged City Task Force and was designed to be a mobile City Hall that would provide easy access to key municipal services in different Vancouver neighbourhoods.

During Pop-up City Hall’s pilot period, 12 locations around the City, primarily in South and East Vancouver, were visited from May to July resulting in over 1,500 unique interactions with residents.

Operated by 3-1-1, Engagement and Vancouver Fire Services staff, the Pop-up City Halls gave residents the chance to:

  • Pick up a blue box, recycling bag, or collection calendar
  • Register to vote
  • Get a Bike or Stanley Park map
  • Register for emergency planning courses or the Vancouver Volunteer Corps
  • Learn about City of Vancouver job opportunities and recreational programs
  • Get updates on public consultations in your neighbourhood.

The initiative was so effective that is was then used for Elections and Budget outreach. In total there were 52 Pop-ups in 2014, enabling the City to directly engage more than 8,000 individuals.

Doors Open Vancouver

On October 4, 2014, the City of Vancouver hosted the inaugural Doors Open Vancouver. Also identified as a Quick Start recommendation from the Mayor’s Engaged City Taskforce, Doors Open was a one-day event that allowed residents to get a behind-the-scenes look at over 20 popular and iconic Vancouver buildings.

Venues included City Hall, Vancouver Animal Control Centre, False Creek Energy Centre, and the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

Over 8,500 people participated in the first ever Doors Open Vancouver with some venues having line-ups throughout the day.

Block parties

Block parties continue to be a great way to build social connections with your neighbours and improve local communities.

The City’s Block Party program provides residents with a step-by-step guide to organizing a block party as well as making important templates available for download, such as posters and invitations.

The target set for 2014 was to have 150 block party applications and the City surpassed this goal with 161 applications – this was a nearly 30% increase from 2013 which saw 125 applications submitted.

Read more about the Mayor’s Engaged City Taskforce

Mayor's Engaged City Task Force

Mayor's Engaged City Task Force

The Task Force is examining how to increase neighbourhood engagement and improve the ways we connect with residents.