A stand-alone porch with a psychedelic paint job opened earlier this month on Vancouver‘s Robson Street, beckoning passersby to inhabit the lighthearted public space for the fifth round of the city’s Robson Redux design-build competition.
Viva Vancouver is a project which aims to turn “street spaces into people places.” It creates unique events, structures or parks in places normally reserved for cars or shady activity. Alleyways, parallel parking spaces and whole streets get transformed!
A 30-foot-long lunch table that pops up in the middle of a street just long enough for office workers to eat lunch is the newest idea for creating impromptu meeting places in Vancouver.
Starting in July and running once a week on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, volunteers will close a downtown city street, erect the table and put out chairs. For two hours, anyone can come down and brown-bag it at the Lunch Meet event. The city is also looking at encouraging street food vendors to set up near by.
And then, just as fast as it is put up, the whole thing will be taken down and the road opened to vehicle traffic again.
The idea is the newest project of Viva Vancouver, a $390,000 city-sponsored program that is behind a number of other summertime street closures and public-space activations.
The project is being done in partnership with the Vancouver Public Spaces Network and will only run for the month of July. But other street activations, including a complete closure of Robson Street between Hornby and Howe will run the entire summer.
On Tuesday city council was notified Viva Vancouver will set up 10 projects, some of which will be roving events while others will be semi-permanent installations on side streets.
Starting June 23 and running until Labour Day, the Granville Mall will be closed to vehicles every Saturday and Sunday. The Robson Street closure covers the same period, and starts with the Vancouver International Jazz Festival in its new downtown home.
Additionally, the city plans to create a few more “parklets” similar to its Parallel Park installation on West 14th Avenue at Main Street.
The Lunch Meet table was made last year by students in the CityStudio Vancouver program from a fir tree that fell in Killarney Park. The table, which is in three sections, has been used for other public events including as “a centrepiece of dialogue” for community information around the city’s Greenest City Action Plan.
Robson Square finally reopened to the public a few weeks ago (following a year of renovations). In a short window of time before the Square is split in two by the reopening of the 800 block of Robson Street to traffic, Vancouverites are finally getting a chance to enjoy this public space through a design project called Picnurbia. Picnurbia is an undulating beach landscape encouraging people to have a seat, gather and relax without going to Vancouver’s more common public spaces - the seawall and beaches.
It is part of the City’s summer-long VIVA Vancouver project, to transform street spaces into people places and provide extra space to walk, bike, dance, skate, sit, hang out with friends and meet neighbours. Picnurbia was created by Loose Affiliates, a design collective of architects who were awesome enough to answer my questions. Here are their thoughts on Robson Square and Vancouver’s public spaces.
New Public Space Projects in Vancouver this Summer
Digital Projections project
Vancouver Public Space Network receives Viva Vancouver funding, applauds City of Vancouver’s decision to open Robson Square to the public this summer
Vancouver, BC – The Vancouver Public Space Network (VPSN) has received funding and operational support from the City of Vancouver though its Viva Vancouver program for a series of public space activations that will take place in the summertime, including Laser Graffiti and a Lunch Meet.
Lunch Meet brings a long-table dining experience to the urban outdoors. Instead of cars, a large table will be placed on a downtown street and participants will come together to share in a communal outdoor meal.