As architects we focus considerable effort on building community through spaces that engage and connect. Urban environments can be notoriously isolating and social media can compound this, replacing flesh and blood, face-to-face connections with more arms length experiences. In the face of these realities, urban planning that considers community building is increasingly important.
Equally important are citizen-driven initiatives and we’re encouraged to see an emerging trend of grass roots efforts to cultivate community through art and creativity. In many cases, such initiatives begin in major urban centres around the world and spread to other cities where satellite efforts are launched. This month a few such examples are taking place in Vancouver, aimed at getting ordinary individuals involved in community building in fun and unconventional ways.
On June 7th, Vancouver will host 100 in 1 Day, an event that was started in 2012 by Danish and Columbian students in Bogota and is now a highly anticipated annual event in four Canadian cities. It calls upon citizens to do 100 little things, called “interventions”, to improve their city in one day, be that setting up a Piano Picnic, a Community Design Workshop or a Free Listening booth.
In 2008, the creative community in New York City expressed the desire for an ongoing, accessible event where individuals could come together to learn and share, and CreativeMorningswas born. Today, breakfast speaker series events are held on a regular basis in over 65 cities worldwide, including this Friday’s lecture in Vancouver featuring artist Heather Dawn Jones speaking on the theme “minimal”.
Papergirl, a movement that started in Germany in 2006, has opened up a Vancouver chapter, to bring art and the public together. Accepting submissions until June 26th and open to everyone, Papergirl Vancouver is calling upon artists to submit their work for open exhibition at the Roundhouse Community Centre in early July. The art will then be taken down, rolled up and delivered by bike to completely unsuspecting strangers.
[Top Image: Boris Neihaus]