Here in Vancouver, our love for outdoor recreation is deeply rooted in our city's identity.
Surrounded by ocean and mountains, we've developed a lifestyle which provides easy access to nature amidst daily urban activity. However, with nearly 200 days of rainfall each year, this tends to take a bit of a downpour when it comes to public life.
Vancouver residents have reported concerningly high levels of social isolation in the city, which causes greater vulnerability to poor health and low levels of community trust. We believe this is directly linked to the lack of spontaneous interactions people have with one another throughout the winter months.
While large portions of urban life seem to conflict seasonal change, we want to explore the ways that our cities can work inclusively with our natural environment. We hope that this process will create communities that inspire well-being rather than stress.
Pop-up ping-pong: the tables have turned
For our initial project, we were awarded a VIVA Refresh grant by the City of Vancouver to activate summertime spaces with our puzzle-piece ping-pong tables. We've used this project as a catalyst to talk about placemaking and re-imagine public life through play. Ping-pong has proven to be a successful point of triangulation for strangers to meet and interact on a deeper level.
Rain, rain, come and play
As the rainy day's progress, we are looking to keep this same momentum going while working in harmony with our climate. While Vancouver may be a rainy city, we are interested in making this the best place to be on a rainy day! If cities such as Copenhagen and Reykjavik can create thriving winter life in -20°C weather, we think we can come up with a seasonal strategy that doesn't let a little rain get in the way.
Seasonal effective design
With a lack of covered public space in Vancouver, unfacilitated social interactions between people turn scarce in the wintertime. As people are less likely to engage in outdoor activities when it rains this places Vancouverites at high risk for Seasonal Affective Disorder.
By working intimately with nature and embracing the rain, we are able to focus on social healing rather than threaten social and physical wellness. Together, with the community, we will act as urban catalysts to encourage social healing through Seasonal Effective Design.
In the following months we will let cure(eos)city thrive by exploring the seasonal transformation of a newly created public space situated on the intersection between Vernon Drive and the Adanac bike route.
As the Vernon/Adanac block is an interim public space, we have the unique opportunity to inform future design decisions. By taking a tactical urbanism approach we are able to give the placemaking practice back to the community and will create a continuous dialogue between users and creators.
This summer we experienced the formation of a place-based community that was driven by the intrigue and excitement of creating public space that feels like home. Fueled by mutual inspiration, we hope to carry this rejuvenative energy forward as we transition to our next project.
Throughout the winter months, we will invite users of the space, local community members, and students to engage in cure(eos)city and become fellow placemakers. We believe that there is much to learn by experimentation and we are hoping to work together with you to develop seasonal effective design practices in this space.
Collaboration through donation
As placemaking is a cooperative community process we are looking to crowdfund $10,000 so we can work together on creating a tangible project. By donating to our campaign you too are directly involved with our practice and influence our decisions.
We're grateful and excited by any donations and have come up with a variety of rewards to say thank you in return! All of our products are designed and made by us, in collaboration with MakerLabs and Local Manufacturing amongst others.
With $10,000 we will be able to allow cure(eos)city to directly flow into the space and inform future, permanent design decisions. We strongly believe that placemaking is an iterative and integrative process and we see more value in learning and experiencing tactical urbanism practices in collaboration with you.
While we cannot guarantee what the end result will be, we can promise you that we will turn Vernon/Adanac into a cozy and collaborative all seasons space. We will explore new forms of placemaking and work with the community on a tangible outcome that will be enjoyable by all.
Our plans for the space include:
- Create local small grants for people to implement seasonal effective design projects of their own
- Hold regular talks, workshops, and events to engage with the community about tactical urbanism and placemaking
- Explore the local ecosystems in the space and expand the amount of green space
- Bring light to the space in a variety of ways
- Colour the concrete benches with beautiful mosaics
- Develop a magazine which further explains our placemaking approach and our findings and your stories connected to the space
- Create temporary tangible projects to activate the space
- Design and create a weatherproof system to allow people to gather outdoors
We are already eager to share the tangible outcomes of that process with you along the way. Please reach out if you have any ideas or ways you’d like to be involved. Let cure(eos)city be your guide!