"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has"

Margaret Mead, Anthropologist
(used with permission)

"If you don't like the news .... go out and make some of your own !!"

Wes "Scoop" Nisker, Newscaster


Government is a slow and tedious process. While it often includes citizen and neighborhood involvement, non-governmental, private organizations have created movements and interesting groups which can create positive change in our cities and towns.

I am fascinated by the way groups are created and how they influence public decision making. This blog merely recognizes them and forwards the description of these groups from their own websites.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Vancouver Public Space Network

Location: Vancouver, BC

Website: www.vancouverpublicspace.ca

VPSN is here to preserve and celebrate public space as an essential part of a vibrant, inclusive city.

The VPSN is a grassroots collective that engages in advocacy, outreach and education on public space issues in and around Vancouver, British Columbia.

This includes challenging the increase of advertising ‘creep’ in public places, promoting creative, community-friendly urban design, monitoring private security activities in the downtown core, fostering public dialogue and democratic debate, and devising creative ways to re-green the neglected corners, alleys and forgotten spaces of the city.

We also like to devise ways to have fun in public space.

The Vancouver Public Space Network (VPSN) was formed in early 2006. Since that time our numbers have grown from a dozen initial participants to over 1500 members. The Network continues to expand: a testament to the large number of individuals who value public space and view it as an essential feature of a vibrant, inclusive city.

Members are drawn together by both a shared concern for various issues facing public spaces and public realm amenities in Vancouver, as well as a desire to celebrate the role that public space in shaping the city.

Among the concerns that were initially identified were the following:

- The blurring of public and private spaces, and the increased corporatization of public parks, squares and gathering places—not to mention the city’s skyline, waterways and view-sheds,

- The need to find creative ways to (re)-green the urban environment,

- The increased presence of advertising in public institutions—including our schools, arts centres, transit shelters and elsewhere,

- The rise of private security and surveillance and its role in redefining the public space of our sidewalks and roadways and,

- The accessibility of decision-making processes around how all public space is dealt with by varying levels of government and by the private sector.

Members of the Network are drawn from a variety of backgrounds—professionals, academics, activists, artists, entrepreneurs, students, planners, cyclists, flanneurs, young, old, and all sorts of folks in between.

To join the Network, simply jot us an email and say as much. We’re interested in connecting with anyone who shares our interest in public space. We’re also looking for volunteers, co-collaborators and anyone who’s got a public space initiative of their own.

Our working groups are always looking for volunteers, so if you'd like to lend a hand please let us know!

The VPSN has monthly meetings which are open to anyone who wishes to attend.

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