Thursday, April 26, 2012

Space98: A $1000 Makeover?

What could we do with #space98, or other city space, with $1000? A lot, probably.

The City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Foundation have paired up to offer a Greenest City Fund ($2million over 4 years!).

Deadline to apply is May 25. So, I'd like to have a brain-storm this weekend to come up with the next project for this space. I'm proposing Sunday April 29th, 3:00PM, at Blenz (corner of Granville and Broadway). If you can make it, consider filling out this quick form so I know who to expect.

Bring your ideas and consider looking at the few past posts about Space98 to see what the community has been saying: community garden, covered bike parking, market stall, etc.!

Fund details here:


  • Person applying must be a Vancouver resident.
  • Project must benefit and be undertaken in a Vancouver neighbourhood.

Granting areas

Projects must address the Greenest City Action Plan goals 
through one or more of the following priority areas:
  1. Making businesses greener or creating green jobs.
  2. Growing and eating local food.
  3. Making buildings more energy efficient.
  4. Promoting greener forms of transportation.
  5. Creating zero waste.
  6. Mitigating climate change and breathing clean air.
  7. Improving access to nature and planting trees.
  8. Conserving drinking water.
  9. Reducing our ecological footprint.
Learn more about the City of Vancouver’s Greenest City 2020 Action Plan.

Priority will be given to proposals
that focus on the above areas and:

  • Foster long-term behaviour change in local residents for a lasting impact;
  • Engage community members of diverse ages, abilities, economic levels and cultures;
  • Contribute to measurable outcomes that show real progress;
  • Can leverage additional funding, volunteer time, donations of good and/or services, and other resources through receiving a grant; and,
  • Offer creative approaches to achieving the Greenest City goals in Vancouver neighbourhoods.

Grant size

Up to $1,000 each (up to $70,000 in grants per year)

Grant decisions

Made once a year by the neighbourhood Resident Advisory Committee*. 
*Note that final decisions on which projects will receive funding are made by the local NSG Resident Advisory Committee (made up of volunteers living in the neighbourhood). Decisions are not made by the City of Vancouver or Vancouver Foundation.

How to apply

Applications must be made through your neighbourhood Resident Advisory Committee at your local Neighbourhood House or community centre. Check the Greenest City Neighbourhood Small Grants map to find out where to apply. 
If you live in an overlapping boundary area, you can apply to any of the Neighbourhood Houses or community centres listed in the area through the online application form. VIEW MAPAPPLY ONLINE

Greenest City Fund: Neighbourhood Small Grants
Deadline for applications — May 25, 2012

Friday, April 20, 2012

Space98: On the Radio!

Here's my bit on CBCRadio's Early Edition this morning - starts at 34minute point. I haven't listened to it yet. EEK.
Dang CBC Audio player starts automatically so I've hidden it after the jump:

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Space98 is dead. Long live Space98!

Space98 is dead. Long live Space98!

Wednesday was a whirlwind! While I was initially upset that someone (no confirmation if CMBC did it or not) removed the community chalkboards we installed, the result couldn't have been more fantastic. Twitter followers sprung into action: the South Granville Business Improvement Association (whom I haven't always gotten along with), Translink's Ken Hardie, and local and far-away urbanists all entered into the fray. Blog posts sprung up across the web: OpenFile Vancouver probably has the best re-cap for you.

So what did we learn?

  • Someone has to take the first leap. The leap doesn't need to be very big but action is important. Remember: sometimes it's easier to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission! Risk is necessary. 
  • Sometimes a roadblock can be a huge win: consider that none of this would have happened unless some grump (CMBC employee or not) took down our public space intervention and left a note. However, this was definitely aided by the use of Twitter. I've never underestimated its usefulness. 
  • There is always opportunity for people to be involved in the shaping of their city. Every centimetre of Vancouver's public realm is an opportunity just waiting for you. Intervene in wonderful, productive ways: yarn-bomb, guerrilla garden, throw up a community chalkboard!  

Where do we go from here? 

Well, it's clear that from my phone conversation with Translink's Ken Hardie that Translink will be getting rid of them (JCDecaux wouldn't take them for $1 because they weren't standard shelters). Hardie seems adamant that he wanted to listen to the community - he'd even turn them over to 'us'. However, the South Granville BIA has some legitimate concerns with that: who will pay for them (upkeep, etc.)?

My thinking is that if they're going to spend the money to tear them down, is there a way to save costs by keeping them up and turning them into something useful using the suggestions that we gathered? If they go, will anything but sidewalk replace them? Would we be losing a great opportunity for an art installation, a market stall, or something else? The City of Vancouver has funding for exactly these kinds of projects.

People are talking and stakeholders are aware so we have a chance. I'm going to throw something together from the community feedback. If anyone is interested in contributing, let me know. If you have special architecture/art talents and want to help, do! 

Space98 is DEAD, thank you Translink!

So, this is what we have this morning:

Too bad that Coast Mountain Bus Company (Translink) doesn't care to upkeep the shelter or remove it since it's no longer in use. Forgive me for trying something. But, you know what? This won't stop me and it shouldn't stop any of us.

Thank you to everyone who had a chance to contribute! Leave your thoughts here or on twitter may even want to reach out to @translink.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Space98: Day 2

Hey all, I'm still pretty buzzed about Space98 and how well it went. Last night around 7PM, I took some updated photos and we have some great ideas from the community: 
Public art seems to be a thing many people want! 
Here, we have some suggestion of maybe an interactive art piece or another Vancouver Art Gallery off-site. 

These ones are fresh from today as I walked home from work:

Fly-By Bike close to 10th Ave! More calls for a community garden space and someone even took the time to thank us. You're welcome and thank YOU! 

This person suggests we take over the 4 parking spots infront of Space98 and DO EVERYTHING. Yes. I'd LOVE to! 

Public Art +3!
And finally this. THIS is why I do what I do and why we need more of this sort of this. The lady here was writing that the chalk boards IS what the space should be: a community art board. We'll see what happens. 
I'm positively elated. Thank you all.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

UPDATE: Space98

So we started it: a few intrepid urbanists and myself took on the task of bringing a little bit of life to an unused bus shelter. As people passed, many of them didn't notice us hard at work but some stopped and asked what we were up to and gave us some words of encouragement. People who did stop, saw the potential for the space just as we did - many wanted to see some busker/music space added. What do you think? (#space98 on twitter if you want to add your thoughts there).

Here's some photos of the proceedings:

See people waiting for the where near the old 98 B-Line Shelter...
I added a bit of Jane appropriate quote me thinks. 

We get to work putting up chalk board panels.

Some guys stop by to add some thoughts to the wall...the original 'Social Network'.

More people stop by...

Decided to add some flair...with lanterns!

Seems that people really, really want a busker/music space. Can we make it happen?

More people waiting...just not in the stop...awaiting audience for some talented musicians? 

More ideas!

Why Not? 

Thar she is! 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Vancouver on CNN

No Country for My Generation

Recently, I've been noticing a lot of articles about generational disparities: it's a mix of frustration, anger, and resentment from us millenials (this article in the Globe: Boomers, we'll pay for your retirements, but we won't be happy about it). The recent Federal budget just adds insult to injury (and I'm not really concerned about the new retirement age). Here's a few excerpts from the Globe article:
My generation is the best-educated one the Canadian work force has ever seen. Most of us not only paid large to go to school, we had to go back to school to get more degrees to compete for entry-level positions. Are we impatient? Sure, but only because doing back-to-back unpaid internships and contract work sans benefits wears on you after a while. We grew up on streets populated by young families who gave us the impression that owning a house wouldn’t put us in crippling debt...
Listen, we’re not dumb. We know we need austerity measures to counter the enormous costs of our social programs. We’re just resentful that we already have to start saving for our own retirement, even as we pay for the mistakes of the older generation...
“If you look at when we created social policy, we stopped a lot of our building in the mid-1970s and that’s when the peak of the baby boomer generation became adults,” Prof. Kershaw says. “Boomers spent more than they were paying...” 
The priorities of our government have been set not just along partisan lines, but generational ones, notes Dr. Kershaw...
While job creation fuelled by the resource boom in western and central Canada is being marketed as the saviour of the Canadian economy, he says younger generations won’t reap many long-term rewards from it – instead, they’ll have to deal with its fallout, which could speed up climate change. “That may be the greatest intergenerational assault for the Millennials and [Gen Xers] and their kids,” he says.
What we're talking about is a shift in expectations: my generation can expect to pay more, wait longer for better paying jobs and certain benefits, and somehow live with the legacy of climate change. However, that shift is pretty hard pill to swallow for a lot of us and understandably so. This is exacerbated by the fact that boomers will stubbornly repeat "I've paid my dues," "I have nothing to apologize for," etc. etc. What I'm looking for is a sense of responsibility and a commitment to stand up to do what's right.

We have a government that has no plans to be responsible. So, how do I hold accountable a government for its actions (or lack thereof) today that will cause devastation in the future? I don't know. But, I do know that if we don't talk about this generational gap, the two sides will come to a conflict and it probably won't be pretty. I've been to some 'inter-generational dialogues' in Vancouver and they've been a bust. Guess who shows up and guess who stays home? The rooms are overwhelmingly packed with young people and few boomers.

In Montreal, hundreds of thousands of young people are protesting an increase to tuition. Good for them. The increase in tuition isn't really the whole issue, is it?
Student Protest in Montreal, March 2012