How do you feel when you are in this space? That’s one of the questions that the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association (DVBIA) asked Vancouverites while they spent time in one of the city’s many ‘perches’—publicly accessible downtown plazas that are programmed with music, yoga and activities such as ping-pong. The results of a month-long survey indicate that the spaces, operated through the official Perch Program, have a positive effect on urban life.
When considering the perches at Cathedral Square, Lot 19 and 855 Granville St., 95% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that “It is important to have more spaces like this in our city.” This shows the importance of placemaking and its positive effect on a city, both by improving the public realm and improving the emotional wellbeing of those in the space.
Additional questions focused on citizens’ emotional wellbeing in certain spaces, whether or not visitors would return, and what people think would make spaces more positive and enjoyable.
For example, when it came to Cathedral Square, 92% of respondents answered positively (e.g. Happy, Comfortable, Engaged or Content) when asked about how the space made them feel, with 88% saying that they would return to the space. 100% of respondents at Lot 19 shared positive sentiments about their feelings in the space, with 95% saying that they would return. At 855 Granville St., the results were equally as positive with 95% of people expressing positive emotions in the space, however, 70% sharing that they are likely to return.
Simple ways to improve space
Through the survey, the DVBIA’s goal was to understand how certain spaces are performing in relation to the public’s emotional wellbeing and the public’s feelings towards the spaces, as well to learn how to improve the areas to make them service the community more effectively.
What do people say will make their experiences more positive and enjoyable? In addition to prioritizing cleanliness and infrastructure such as tables, chairs and seating, the more than 200 respondents provided an array of ideas for us to consider in our future programming: music, art, food, flowers, fountains, pianos and games.
As part of one the DVBIA’s strategic plan goals to enhance the downtown experience, we will use these insights to ensure future placemaking initiatives and programming reflects demand, interest and community support.
For the full results or to partner with the DVBIA on placemaking research or initiatives, please contact Tara Gloster, Placemaking Lead at firstname.lastname@example.org