City seeks volunteers to survey people’s use of downtown public spaces


The City of Vancouver is seeking volunteers to help with the winter edition of its public space and public life study, which is assessing how to make downtown public spaces more vibrant and inviting year round.

The study is being conducted by Gehl, a global leader in people-centered urban design as part of the city’s Places for People Downtown program that will help create a comprehensive Downtown Public Space Strategy in 2018. The strategy’s study areas include the Central Business District, Coal Harbour, West End, Downtown South, Yaletown, False Creek North and Northeast False Creek.

public spaces vancouver
The city launched its Places for People Downtown program in June. Photo Dan Toulgoet

“Volunteers are needed to help collect ‘people data’ to better understand how residents and visitors get around and spend time in downtown Vancouver,” according to a press release issued by the city Jan. 10. “The research will provide insight into what people like about public space, how they use it and why. Findings will inform the Downtown Public Space Strategy and help bring it from vision to action.”

This phase of the study will deal with 40 different public spaces across the downtown, from plazas and streets to beaches and laneways.

Volunteers are needed to work shifts on Feb. 1 or Feb. 3 to help conduct surveys at various locations in downtown Vancouver.

Most shifts will be four hours and take place between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Some will involve a shorter time commitment. Volunteers are also welcome to participate in more than one shift.

Training sessions take place Jan. 31.

Anyone interested is asked to sign up to volunteer by Jan. 29 here:

The VIVA Vancouver program, meanwhile, is continuing to trial “public space interventions across the city such as parklets, strEATeries, and pavement-to-plaza activations,” according to the City of Vancouver, while Places for People Downtown is creating an overarching strategy.

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