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City looking for volunteers to help make downtown public spaces more inviting

Want to have a hand in shaping the future of public spaces downtown? Residents can help make public spaces more inviting by playing a part in Vancouver’s public space and public life study.
places
The City of Vancouver launched its Places for People Downtown program in June. Photo Dan Toulgoet

Want to have a hand in shaping the future of public spaces downtown?

Residents can help make public spaces more inviting by playing a part in Vancouver’s public space and public life study.

The city, in partnership with Gehl, an international architectural and urban design firm that is known for its work in “people-centred” design, is looking for volunteers to help collect “people data” in an effort to better understand how residents and visitors get around and spend time in downtown Vancouver.

The aim of the research is to get insight into what people like about public space, how they use it and why.

The public life surveys will be conducted next month and again in January, in order to capture seasonal variations.

“The study is an opportunity for anyone interested in city planning, design, or public spaces to learn more and take an active role in future changes to the downtown public realm,” the city states on its website.

Survey volunteers will be required to work shifts on Sept. 14 or 16 to help gather behavioural mapping data and conduct surveys at various locations downtown. Most shifts will be four hours long and take place sometime between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., although some shifts will be shorter. Volunteers are welcome to take part in more than one shift.

Training sessions will take place on Sept. 13.

To sign up as a volunteer, email placesforpeople@vancouver.ca by Sept. 8.

The city launched Places for People Downtown in June.

Led by the planning, urban design and sustainability department, the program aims to help create a downtown public space strategy in 2018.

“While downtown Vancouver is home to many popular and lively public spaces, we currently don’t have a comprehensive strategy to guide the planning and delivery of public spaces across the city,” Gil Kelley, the city’s general manager of planning, urban design and sustainability, said at the program launch.

“The downtown is growing and changing along with the lifestyles of the population that lives, works and plays there,” Kelley said. “We want to look at the types of spaces people want and need, and develop a more coordinated approach that is centred on people to deliver public spaces and connect it to walking, cycling and transit.”

The study encompasses several areas: Central Business District, Coal Harbour, West End, Downtown South, Yaletown, False Creek North and Northeast False Creek.

@JessicaEKerr

jkerr@vancourier.com

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