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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Video Vancouver Original: Pop-Ups and Pop Rocks

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Note: if the “HD” button hasn’t defaulted to orange, you’ll need to click to turn it on. It’s worth it.


In these past summer months, VIVA Vancouver has tapped into a number of ways of inexpensively transforming underutilized spaces into both temporary and lasting positive amenities.

Last summer, Spacing highlighted Picnurbia, produced by the Loose Affliates. It was introduced as a new concept for making Robson Square a more inviting and pedestrian friendly space. Yet the uncertainty of the long-term fate of Robson Square prompted a petition to keep traffic off the plaza, circulated by the Vancouver Public Space Network. Spacing Vancouver is pleased to present an update on this year’s new “Picnurbia” and other initiatives sprouting on film.

Inspired by similar projects in San Francisco and New York City, Vancouver is envisioning its own version of ‘pavement to parks’ projects. The newly-installed parklets and public plazas featured in the video are:

Urban Pasture – a sinuous bench built by FSOARK in partnership with Café Crêpe, located at Burrard on Robson Street.

Pop Rocks – interactive art designed by AFJD Studio and Matthew Soules Architecture, located between Hornby and Howe on Robson Street, made locally from recycled materials including sail material from Canada Place.

Hot Tubs – inspired cedar ‘hot tub’ seating by Matthew Thomson from PFS and Erika Mashig from Hapa Collaborative on E. 44th Avenue, west of Fraser Street.

The collaborative efforts between local communities, designers, and the City of Vancouver are livening up Vancouver’s streets, bringing together an eclectic mix of re-activating our street right-of-ways. Viva la vida!


Kathleen Corey likes tiny apartments over shops, hikes with panoramic city views, and flowing urban landscapes. While in the San Francisco Bay Area, she led design processes for the India Basin community farm and Wilkie Creek outdoor classroom. Kathleen completed the Urban Design certificate at SFU’s City Program and is working toward her Master of Landscape Architecture at the University of Guelph.