The Vancouver Public Space Network has been running a design competition for a new public square in the city that would give it a heart and gathering place that it hasn’t had until now.
Vancouver’s lack of a main plaza has always been a bit of a puzzle to some. People like urban planner Lance Berelowitz, author of Dream City: Vancouver and the Global Imagination, have theorized that it’s because Vancouverites see the parks and beaches bordering the city as their plazas. That wasn’t good enough for the VPSN, which has put on this imaginary competition to at least get brains fermenting on this topic.
The network got 13 entries and is now asking the public, i.e. you, to vote on your favourite. There are two days of voting left, so get in there and make your voice heard. The info and entries are here.
An interesting tidbit when it comes to public squares in Vancouver. I was informed by a reliable source recently that, although the large open space on the Georgia side of the Vancouver Art Gallery might seem like the logical place for public gatherings, the provincial government has worked to prevent that by holding on to ownership of the land under the fountain. That’s to ensure the fountain isn’t removed, which would give the plaza a lot more holding room for large demos.
I haven’t checked to see if that’s true, but it’s an excellent urban story in any case.