What Is City Commons?

What is City Commons?

City Commons is the Vancouver Tool Library’s latest initiative!

Scheduled for July 11-14 2013, City Commons will be a multi-day, citywide placemaking event that will encourage community members to transform several underutilized private and public spaces into common places that foster neighbourliness.

By day, participants will collaborate on placemaking projects such as street murals, building community furniture, educational or play areas, or neighbourhood sharing stations. In the evening, we will continue to gather for workshops, music, and theatrical performances that celebrate our communities.

City Commons will allow neighbours to work together to create  ‘common ground’,  places that empower and engage them. Both the process of building and the places created will foster real and meaningful connections on a neighbourhood level.  Portland and Olympia’s successful “Village Building Convergences” (http://vbc.cityrepair.org/ andhttp://olyvbc.blogspot.ca/) have inspired us to develop the project in Vancouver. We recognize that the transformation of Vancouver through community participation will take time. Our hope is that this year we will establish a benchmark for future events. We are confident that this will become a yearly event in our city with longstanding impacts on the connectedness of our communities.

What is Placemaking?
An excellent definition from City Repair in Portland:

“Placemaking is a multi-layered process within which citizens foster active, engaged relationships to the spaces which they inhabit, the landscapes of their lives, and shape those spaces in a way which creates a sense of communal stewardship and lived connection. This is most often accomplished through a creative reclamation of public space. … [It is meant to] demonstrate to all who pass through that this is a Place: inhabited, known, and loved by its residents.”

How Were City Commons Projects Chosen?

Plans for City Commons were first announced by the Vancouver Tool Library in February 2013. In March the City Commons Organizing Committee held a public open house and info session at Mount Pleasant Community Centre to share the vision of City Commons and describe the general types of projects that would be suitable, and brainstorm projects together. Following this, an open call for Site Applications was made and a number of applications from potential Site Hosts were received. Many of these potential projects had been developed by Site Hosts in consultation with their neighbours and community.

In May, these Site Hosts attended a weekend training session where we worked together on a cob-project, work-shopped project designs, and participated in workshops on volunteer management and conflict resolution. Since May, Site Hosts have been working with the Organizing Committee to finalize details on their projects and promote the event!