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Guest Blog: Vancouver Placemaking Week + #VivaRobson

Last week, Vancouver was bustling with great energy and enthusiasm for public spaces and urbanism. From premier conferences and leadership forums to  Vancouver Public Space Network’s 10 year Anniversary celebration, we have great insight and inspiration to carry us through the coming months of Autumn. We enjoyed one of the last summer days at #VivaRobson listening to your thoughts about the future of the 800-block of Robson. Our first activated / “reimagined laneway” also launched. Kudos to HCMA Architecture + Design for bringing more colour downtown with Alley-Oop. Even though us Hapsters couldn’t make it to most of the events, we have a guest author who did.


It is my pleasure to be the first guest author to Hapa Collaborative’s blog. I am a graduate of Landscape + Urbanism at the University of Manitoba and I am pleased to share my recent experience at the Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place conference in Vancouver.

From September 12 to 15th, Vancouver was host to the 19th Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place, one of the most notable North American active transportation conferences. Held biennially, over one thousand individuals attended this event from across the world to take a multi-sectoral gaze at the state of current active transportation issues. Hosted by Project for Public Spaces, Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place (#WalkBikePlaces) included plenary presentations by experts in various fields, over 70 breakout sessions, and a handful of mobile workshops across the greater metropolitan region. The themes of this year’s conference were: mobility; governance; health; and resilience.

This year, a host of notable speakers offered their expertise and knowledge to the conference. These speakers included The Honorable Jean-Yves Duclos (Federal Minister of Children, Families, and Social Development), Charles Montgomery (Principal of Happy Cities), Secretary Anthony Foxx (United States of America Department of Transportation), The Honorable Gregor Robertson (Mayor, City of Vancouver), and The Honorable Lisa Helps (Mayor, City of Victoria).

The City of Vancouver in particular had the privilege of promoting their active transportation opportunities as host city, and many of the new and exciting active transportation endeavours currently underway by the City were front and centre for registrants. As a Winnipegger, the connectivity of bike paths in the downtown core and surroundings that we rode during the mobile workshop were a particular point of envy. Residents of Vancouver can also appreciate the benefits of the comprehensive transportation count strategy being rolled out by the City of Vancouver, which is to become an integral component of future active transportation decisions. Engineers and advocates hoping to assist in guiding active transportation decisions with the city can also be heartened to hear that the Geometric Design Guide for Canadian Roads will be updated and released in 2017, with design guidelines for Active Transportation Infrastructure to be included.

Coming back to Winnipeg, I hope that our organization can take Vancouver’s willingness to embrace active transportation and inject it into our own decision-making bodies. A great step in the right direction was the attendance of two Winnipeg city councilors and the City of Winnipeg’s Active Transportation Coordinator, all of whom were keen to pursue some of the ideas presented. (If you want to help though, feel free to bump by email or twitter any of our councilors or mayor and encourage them to learn from your city’s example!)

Ultimately, the variety of subjects offered through the conference makes it impossible to cover the breadth and richness of the conversations discussed in one post. However, if you are interested in learning more of the proceedings during Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place, the detailed itinerary of each day can be found here: http://walkbikeplaces.org/#container_uiw42bc

Justin Quigley is a resident of Winnipeg, Manitoba and employee of Green Action Centre. Their program engages schools for safer active transportation environments. For more information, please visit their website here: http://greenactioncentre.ca/module/asrts/

Vancouver Placemaking Week 2016 Alley-Oop by HCMA Architecture + DesignVancouver Placemaking Week 2016