Our placemaking projects aim to enhance, animate, and bring life to downtown’s public realm, from streets and laneways to parks and plazas

Placemaking is both a process and an outcome that works to strengthen the connection between people and the places they share. The DVBIA defines placemaking as a people-centred approach to improving outdoor public spaces. We strive to make downtown a more welcoming, inclusive, and attractive destination for all to enjoy.

Our public space improvements can range from temporary activations to permanent installations and public art. We work with various stakeholders and local partners to implement projects, including local artists, community organizations, private property owners, and the City of Vancouver, just to name a few. Successful placemaking transforms spaces into areas where people of all ages and abilities can come together and be part of the community.

Our Placemaking and Public Spaces projects range in complexity and scale but can generally fit within the following five categories

Streetscape Beautification
Activations, Pop-ups, and Programming
Art Installations and Urban Enhancements
Placemaking Advocacy
and Knowledge Sharing

Current Placemaking Projects

Below are some of the projects the Placemaking team has recently worked on. Hover on an image to read about the project.

Downtown Street Banners

Every other year, we work with local artists and refresh the street banners along the Hastings West, Alberni, and Granville Retail District.

Bute-Alberni Popup Plaza

In collaboration with the City of Vancouver, we transformed this average street block into a vibrant pop-up public plaza.

Healthy Hands Stations

We partnered with FortisBC to design and install publicly accessible hand sanitizer stations at two of our main public spaces. 

Temporary Patio Fund

The DVBIA created a support fund for restaurants in our district who were applying for the Temporary Expedited Patio Program.

Temporary Storefront Murals

Twenty-four temporary murals were painted throughout downtown Vancouver to enhance boarded-up stores and support local artists in mid-April.

Bee Positive!

We added playful, positive reminders to our hanging baskets to hopefully bring a smile to people’s faces as they pass by. These whimsical bee signs included: Bee Kind, Bee Creative, Bee Yourself, You’re BEE-utiful, and Why Bee Rude?

Earth Justice Mural

As part of the Burrard Arts Foundation’s Surface Series rotating public art program, we co-sponsored Shepard Fairey’s first mural in Vancouver – a 20-storey, 10,000 square foot mural titled Earth Justice.

Public Space Picnic Tables

In response to all festivals and events being cancelled on the square, we implemented public picnic tables on šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square. 

Alberni Parklet

In partnership with the City of Vancouver and working with Urban Fare on Alberni, we introduced a new Parklet along the Alberni Retail district in 2018. 

Fleurs De Villes Noel

We worked with Fleurs de Villes to bring one of their bespoke flower events to downtown Vancouver. Fleurs de Villes showcases talented local florists who create unique floral installations.

Seawall Sounds 

Every Friday and Saturday in August, from 3 pm-6 pm at four locations along the seawall. Enjoy the views and listen to some local musicians as you stroll from Harbour Concourse Plaza to Jack Poole Plaza.

Planter Art Wraps

Partnering with Oxford Properties Group and SFU School for the Contemporary Arts, we helped add some visual interest and some colour to the concrete planters at Oceanic Plaza.

Key Initiatives

Perch Program