Mobile Workshop Program Announced!

Vancouver BC is a world leader in sustainable urbanism, progressive health and an active transportation policy. It is also full of really nice Canadians. For these reasons Vancouver was selected to host Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place 2016.

Mobile workshops, which are included as a part of your conference registration, allow you to explore the host city and meet the practitioners who transformed Vancouver into one of the world’s most livable cities. Below is a preview of the >20 sessions on offer.

Mobile workshop registration will open in mid July for all who have already registered for the conference. If you have not registered, be sure to do so before Early Summer registration ends on Friday, July 15, 8pm Eastern. We hope to see you in Vancouver this September 12–15!

Monday, September 12
Pre-conference Mobile Workshop (1–5pm)

North Vancouver Public Space Design Workshop
If you are planning to be in Vancouver early and you would like an opportunity to give something back to the host city, then join PPS and our Placemaking friends from Nelson\Nygaard in North Vancouver as we examine how to enliven one of the city’s underperforming public spaces. (Sadly we will be a month too late to enjoy the 1000 foot slip ’n’ slide that will be a part of North Vancouver’s Fun City Festival.)

Image by Modacity

Protected Bike Lanes: Comox — Seawall
The tour will begin on an all ages and abilities bicycle boulevard that was recently installed in Vancouver’s densest neighborhood. This will be followed by riding over the Burrard Bridge to visit North America’s first fully protected interesection for cyclists. Next will be a journey along the Seawall which is the city’s busiest recreational route. After a visit to the Olympic Village riders will return to the downtown to see the latest infrastrcture improvements including bike boxes and cycletracks.

VGH Cycling Centre — A Look in Hindsight
Most who enter the Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) Cycling Centre simply say “awesome.” (And that’s fine.) But some who visit will want to hear some details around the planning, decisions, collaborations, compromises that were made — all AFTER it opened — to better respond to the needs and financial requirements of its users. This workshop will cover all the “in-hindsight” refinements of this award-winning workplace bike facility; including lockers, locks, tools, washroom facilities, towels, database, etc. (i.e. the list continues!)

Engaging Businesses in Making Great Streets For Everyone
In most showdowns around design on busy commercial streets, businesses’ concern rise to the front-and-centre. Proposals that tinker with on street parking and traffic flow are often vhemently opposed by the business community who equate easy parking with strong sales. This opposition to bicycle accommodations persists despite research that shows there is nothing to fear.

This workshop will take place on Commercial Drive, which is one of the busiest streets in Vancouver, and a place where over half the residents commute by active transportation and 17 percent of people rely on the bicycle as their primary means of transportation.

Workshop participants will be assigned either a complete streets design challenge or policy challenge related to business engagement. The outcome of both challenges is to support the creation of a street that works for everyone. The workshop will be led by Streets for Everyone and the British Columbia Cycling Coalition.

Wednesday, September 14
Mobile Workshops (1–5pm)

Cycling End of Trip Facilities Bike Tour
Join this on-bike tour to visit Vancouver’s innovative cycling end-of-trip facilities, showcasing public and private bike rooms that encourage more people to cycle because they have amenities like secure bike parking, showers, lockers, and changing rooms. Learn how the facilities were built, their fee structures, their usage rates, and lessons learned. The workshop will be led by local HUB Cycling and the regional transportation authority, TransLink.

Protected Bike Lanes: Downtown to East side
See the evolution of Vancouver’s all-ages and abilities cycling network! Starting in downtown Vancouver, this tour will explore the city’s first protected bike lanes, the oldest local street bikeway, and the newest additions to the downtown network. You will also get a glimpse of future possibilities for transportation and placemaking as you ride over the Dunsmuir Viaduct, a remnant of Vancouver’s never-built freeway system. Removing the viaducts helps Vancouver create a more resilient and reliable street network, connected and accessible neighborhoods, a new 13-acre park along False Creek,affordable housing, among many other benefits. From here you will explore a section of the Adanac local street bikeway extending into Strathcona, one of Vancouver’s earliest residential neighborhoods. Finally you will ride on the latest additions to the downtown bike network built earlier this year.

Image by Modacity

Downtown Vancouver’s Public Spaces and Places
Explore downtown Vancouver’s public and private spaces — including popular gathering areas, hidden gems, and once-proposed spaces that could have been.

This tour will start at Robson Square and follow a route past some of the city’s iconic civic spaces, squares and greenspaces in the city’s downtown core. The tour will explore the history of their development, give participants a chance to debate the strengths and weaknesses of the space, and look at the role of public gathering in the context of a rapidly growing city.

Commercial Drive: Evolution of a Vancouver High Street
Join local City of Vancouver neighbourhood and transportation planners on a walking tour along Commercial Drive, one of Vancouver’s most cherished commercial streets and the heart of the Grandview-Woodland neighbourhood. The street is a key public space in its own right, and also connects important community assets — a major transit hub, small parks and gathering areas, and a cherished community centre.

Walking along the street, you’ll learn about the history of Vancouver’s early streetcar suburbs, the evolution of high streets, and recent planning efforts to protect and strengthen a cherished community asset. Special focus will be given to discussing approaches to community engagement, the idea of streets as “contested spaces,” and the role of advocacy in developing a shared community vision. The walk will also explore current opportunities to transform “The Drive” into a complete street.

A Grandma’s Eye View of Vancouver’s Chinatown
This interactive, community-based workshop explores how Chinatown works from a “grandma’s eye view”. It addresses the need to plan spaces for seniors in an accessible, inclusive and culturally appropriate manner, lessons planners can apply to their Chinatowns. Like Chinatowns across North America, pressures from development and gentrification threaten the historical, cultural, and affordable spaces for residents who have been rooted in the community for generations.

The unique format will include small discussion groups, where participants will meet and learn from Chinese seniors about their experiences in Chinatown. A walking tour will follow to visit important sites and conduct an analysis of the public space. Finally, participants will reconvene and collaborate to produce a set of small-scale, low-cost but potentially high-impact recommendations for Chinatown. This is a chance to combine professional expertise with the knowledge of local seniors. Ideas and recommendations emerging from the workshop will be shared with the City of Vancouver, with the goal of creating tangible benefits for Chinatown.

BC Parkway Bike Tour
Join this on-bike 26 km tour (round trip) riding from the conference venue along Vancouver bike routes and the BC Parkway. The BC Parkway is a multi-municipality bike route connecting Vancouver with Burnaby, New Westminster and Surrey, and paralleling the Expo SkyTrain line. Visit transit-oriented developments in Vancouver and Burnaby along the route and learn from TransLink about the parkway’s origins, maintenance, usage rates, successes and challenges while enjoying an active break from indoor sessions.

Creating Streets Where People Want To Be
Lively, interesting streets are the lifeblood of great neighbourhoods. Explore the bustling street life and quieter spaces in Vancouver’s West End that combine to create one of the city’s most vibrant and sought after neighbourhoods.

The West End is one of Vancouver’s most densely populated neighbourhoods and an important hub for the LGTBQ2+ community. Led by the City of Vancouver’s Street Activities group, this mobile workshop invites you to experience the charming and surprising streets of the West End in an intimate and interactive way. With a focus on community partnerships, you’ll learn what it takes to create public spaces like plazas and community gardens, and just as importantly, what it takes to ensure they remain loved and cared for over time. You’ll learn how we’re experimenting with our patio program, expanding our street vending options, and finding creative ways to increase art on to our streets. You’ll also get the chance to meet some of our most dedicated and innovative collaborators from the community’s not-for-profit and business sectors. You’ll leave the workshop feeling inspired and excited about the possibilities in your own hometown.

Public Art in Transit
Art on transit is a powerful placemaking tool that can contribute positively to customer experience, the transit facility environment and to neighbouring communities. Well conceptualized and executed artworks have the potential to surprise and delight customers on their daily commutes for years and to become symbols of their surrounding neighbourhoods. This workshop examines how to get the most out of public art, and particularly art on transit, through strong public art commissioning and delivery processes. It visits a selection of permanent public art along TransLink’s transit lines, as well as a selection of temporary murals produced in partnership with local municipalities and community groups. Discussion at each artwork will cover topics such as working in partnerships, artist commissioning, artwork design, technical review for safety and security, installation and unveiling. This workshop is intended for anyone who wants to know more about art on transit, as well as anyone with an interest in placemaking projects in partnership with other organizations.

Reconnecting Community: Replacing Vancouver’s Georgia and Dunsmuir Viaducts
Northeast False Creek (NEFC) is a hub of sports, culture, and events venues, including BC Place Stadium, Rogers Arena, and the Plaza of Nations. NEFC is connected to Yaletown and Downtown to the west, International Village and Chinatown to the north, and Strathcona, Citygate and the False Creek Flats to the east. NEFC is also home to the last major undeveloped waterfront within the downtown peninsula.

In 2015, Vancouver’s City Council voted to replace the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts with a new mostly at grade complete street network that would reconnect the downtown and nearby historic communities to the False Creek waterfront. This would also make way for a new vibrant waterfront community and major destination park that is currently being planned.

The City of Vancouver’s Lead Engineer and Principal Area Planner for the NEFC Project Office, will start the session with an overview presentation of the project, exploring the city-building opportunities and technical challenges faced. The group will then head out for a walk of the site, supplemented with graphical renderings of the places and spaces to come. A discussion during the walk will provide an opportunity for group members to discuss similar learnings from other jurisdictions and creative solutions to planning for the transformation of waterfront urban areas and freeway replacement.

Image by Project for Public Spaces

Vancouverism Explained
Join Gordon Price for a 10k bike tour of Vancouver and learn about a half-century of urban development known as “Vancouverism.” The city has experimented with creating high-density, mixed-use urban neighbourhoods in several different ways, one reacting to the successes and failures of the others. But they all have in common the commitment to providing alternatives to the car-dependent transportation system and emphasizing active movement. You’ll see how it works (or doesn’t) among the residents themselves.

Transforming Public Spaces into Healthy Cities accessible by Smart Travel Choices
Join us for a walkabout in the heart of downtown New Westminster. As the oldest city in Western Canada the downtown has seen a lot of change — some good and some bad. This tour will focus on the partnerships and actions that have transformed downtown into a lively neighbourhood filled with amenities and easily accessed by transit, bike and on foot. You will begin with a ride on the Expo Line to the New Westminster SkyTrain Station, which is now surrounded by a mall and three residential towers while serving more than 17,000 daily commuters. There you will be met by local planning, health and transportation experts to hear about the strategies that are addressing infrastructure, health, mobility and social issues. The result is transforming the downtown into a great place where people want to be.

Protected Bike Lanes: Seaside Greenway
In the last few years Vancouver: converted a six-lane bridge to five lanes and then to four lanes to create room for protected bike lanes; built North America’s first protected intersection for people on bikes; and converted a 10,000 vehicle per day arterial street into a quiet bike boulevard that now sees 3,000 bike per day. All of this has happened in a transportation corridor only minutes by bike from the conference venue.

Join City of Vancouver staff for a bike tour along the Seaside Greenway and see how they have transformed a series of streets in the Kitsilano neighbourhood to create bike routes for people of all ages and abilities. The tour will also include a visit to one of the oldest sections of Vancouver’s seawall and a discussion of how it will be modified to accommodate growing numbers of people walking and biking.

Surrey — Retrofitting Suburbia
A city centre tour which showcases the new Surrey City Hall, library, Central City shopping centre, Surrey Central SkyTrain station and bus loop and the area just west of University Drive. Learn from City staff about retrofitting suburbia, civic and institutional investment, Light Rail Transit, transitioning from an off- street to on-street transit facility, developing a finer grid, and placemaking.

Hollywood North Bike Tour: Film locations
See scenes from your favorite movies and TV shows while enjoying a casual urban bike ride around downtown Vancouver!

Vancouver is known for its spectacular setting, livability, urban planning, and green transportation. However, in the world of cinema, Vancouver has long been a stand-in for cities around the world: New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, Mumbai. Even future cities, cities on planets in far off galaxies and the paranormal have been portrayed in Vancouver. Major film productions have turned the city into one of the largest film production centres in North America earning it the nickname Hollywood North.

This tour will highlight how filming has contributed to Vancouver’s vibrancy economy and place. You will see recognizable scenes from TV shows and blockbuster films. All of this while enjoying a pleasant bike ride on Vancouver’s network of downtown protected bike lanes.

Walk N’ Roll Audit
As one of the most dynamic places in North America, Vancouver is an ideal place to learn how to stitch together modern transportation tools to meet future land use needs.

Take to your feet and journey with Dan Burden (and other guest walkers) through the streets, learning the art of healthy city-making — exploring topics of density, compact block form, local streets, alleys, street networks, biophilic design, and more. Experience and learn the knack of leading a walking audit — or on-street mobile workshop — a highly interactive way to help people see their community through a people-focused lens. This tour is designed to help participants fine-tune their most engaging public participation skills.

Inspiring residents, policy makers, planners, engineers, and others to change their built environments to accommodate people, not just cars, Dan has helped more than 3,700 communities take the steps to become more walkable and livable.

Be ready to share, question, exchange ideas and most importantly “walk n’ roll!”

Emerging Innovation Districts: Examining the Roles of Communities, Transportation and Institutions
What is an innovation district, and to what extent is this concept relevant or useful to communities navigating the perils and opportunities associated with change? This cycle tour builds on the workshop leads’ experience with planning perspectives on “smart cities” and innovation districts, to compare and contrast the concept with developments on the horizon for the False Creek Flats and Mount Pleasant areas. Tying the historical uses and assets of each area with the role of large institutions, this workshop will emphasize and unpack the value of communities using high and low-tech means to engage broader audiences in the vision for what comes next.

The workshop will further expand on the methodology of impact assessments for major infrastructure projects and the means by which this allows for incorporating existing social capital into assets into processes of change. With the City of Vancouver’s plans for the removal of the Georgia Viaduct, this workshop will also expand on the role that multi-modal transportation plays to the underpinning qualities of place on which innovation districts must be built.

Olympic Village & Lower Lonsdale walking tours
Join the built environment experts from Vancouver Coastal Health for a walking tour of either the Olympic Village mixed use neighborhood in Vancouver or the Lower Lonsdale neighborhood in North Vancouver. Both tours will showcase the emerging research, evidence, and actions on specific planning issues and why planning and community design is integral to health. Topics will include the health implications and planning and design principles of transportation networks, food systems, neighbourhood design, natural environments, housing, and social connections to enhance health. The workshop will also provide different tools and resources available to build healthy built environments. Registrants are reminded to bring their conference bus passes, wear sensible shoes, and to dress for the weather as the tours will occur rain or shine. Registrants should be able to walk a minimum of 3 km.