December 14, 2015

Dear Division 16,

Please read the article below and think about space in the city.

For your assignment tonight, please consider the following question:

What spaces in our city do you think are under-used? By this, I mean, how can we more effectively and creatively use all parts of our city.  In the article, the author talks about community gardens in parking lots.

What space in our city is not used to its’ full potential?  How can you imagine using that space more effectively, creatively or for the benefit of a greater number of people?

Please make sure you answer the question fully.  This will require you to

1. Identify a space in the city and describe it in such a way that others will understand what you are talking about

2. Make a proposal for a different use of the space.  You’ll need to describe how the space would be different after your change and who (or what) the change would affect.

3. Say how or why it would be different or better.

I look forward to your responses!




  1. den10@sea43

    I think that beaches can be used differently because there is so much space there and all where doing is walking on it and thats it. So I think that we can use beaches for animals that need to be away from humans. It would have a big affect on animals and it would be a place of peace.

    • dickensdiv16

      Oh! That’s interesting! I wouldn’t have thought of using beaches as a sanctuary for animals. That would be a big change in how we think of that public space. Good idea!

  2. PG Dinosaur

    Rooftops in Vancouver are generally unused, and many apartment buildings have good rooves for growing plants. This unused space could be used as a community garden space, or maybe for temporary shelter for homeless people and refugees. The change would affect the people living in the building –they might be able to get food from their roof. Some people might be annoyed by the noise, and especially homeless people in their space. We could sound proof the top floor to make sure that it didn’t bother people. This would be better because it would create a sense of community in a place where people don’t often have a lot of community. Most apartment buildings don’t have a lot of interaction between its residents. This might also allow people to gain new skills like building shelters or farming. If there were shelters on top of the buildings, some people could get off the street.

    • dickensdiv16

      Rooftops do create a lot of space. I wonder how you think the city could decide which would be gardens and which would become housing? What steps do you think we would need to take for rooftop housing to be secure dry and safe?

  3. Amethyst

    I know Down Town isn’t the brightest place ever because all the buildings aren’t very colorful they’re mostly black also in that area the people aren’t the wealthiest so they’re wearing really dark clothing and I’ve noticed they’re clothes are sometimes ripped. Also in Down Town there isn’t street lights all over the place like somewhere else so that is also a lot less light. I think that in that area it could use colorful flowers because it would be more colorful but also the flowers would make it prettier and more welcoming. I think it would affect some of the people living on the streets because while planting the plants they might have to move somewhere else. It would also affect them because they might have to move permanently but they won’t really have anywhere to live. It would be better because that area would be brighter and prettier it will be different because maybe there won’t be anyone living on the streets any more which could be good for the people who think that it is very weird having people living on the streets it also could be bad because the people who were living there don’t have a home.

    • dickensdiv16

      Amethyst, you’ve raised an important point here – beauty is very important in a city. I think we often think first of function, but sometimes we need to think about the city in terms of colour and shape as well!

  4. Crazychicken lover

    I think that they can use some of the tall buildings in downtown should be torn down so that we could have more space for parks and recreation centers because they dont have very much in downtown and it would provide the atmostspere in downtown vancouver more greener and hopefully they are thinking about doing this. It would affect how people think of down town vancouver and that its not just people who go to work everyday and like partying and think of it as part of mother nature and that it can be alot more diffrent in terms of the mood,place, and stereotypical things like oh, lets go to somewhere else greener and less ugly like downtown, because even though it has great architecture and food, I just cant look at it and say this is our green,healthy, little planet.


    I think that dank unused ally ways that have really bad paving should be changed because we could make a green way and then instead of ally’s being avoided they will be a place where community’s thrive and meet up for picnics. the way this could happen is maybe the city of Vancouver could get diggers to strip away the pavement and then wait for some plants to start growing by themselves and the plant other plants to help ecosystems work better in urban areas so factory emitions are cut down within the city. it would be better because more social activity could happen between neighbors.

  6. Soccerboy123ABC

    I think that they can use the top of some of the tall buildings down town to put gardens so that even thought people that live in the apartment they can still sort of have a garden so they can grown there own food so they don’t have to buy as much or they could use the top of buildings for animal shelters because I don’t know of of very many animal shelters in this city so maybe they will be able to keep more animals for adoption ,treatment or other purposes but they would also have to make an extra floor or make the ceiling a sound proof so that people don’t get really disturbed by how noisy it is or all the banging on the ceiling . They could also take down some building to put up homeless shelters,recreation centers or parks so that it might feel a little more comfortable environment . I think that it would make us think of downtown differently because we think of it as a place to go to work but if we put some of these changes in i think people will start thinking of downtown more as a social area for people to hang out with your family and it might help our goal of being the greenest city by 2020.It may also cause a problem for the people that lived in the apartment building because they would have no where to live so they would eventually end up developing a space or getting rid of another park.

  7. crazymemeslol123

    I think that we should tear down old and wrecked buildings down so we can have more space for a garden or more and I think we should tear down old hotels in downtown and turn them into a local garden where people can look maybe some people never had seen plants before well maybe vegetables but not flowers and other types it might be a pretty sight for them and why we should do that is because plants help produce oxygen too like trees so populated areas with almost no trees will pretty much die down because lots of pollution is caused by cars,oils,gas,and even littering so people in theses types of areas need gardens real badly.

  8. smeagaleater10

    I think that the grass beside the sidewalks is completely underused. I think that is a perfect place for vegetables because it is just enough space for them and. Growing vegetables on the sidewalk will affect the city, but in a good way. I think it would be better because people will think twice before littering and people won’t have to go shopping as much since they will be growing their own food. But that won’t cause havoc because the people who run or manage the store will not have to buy much food either! After most people grow their own food I think vancouver will become the greenest city in the world even before 2020!

  9. PandaTush

    In Chinatown, I see a lot of space like alleys and some abandoned buildings. Homelessness is also a common seen thing there. Sometimes a whole block is filled with homeless people sleeping on bags and some even try to sell stuff they find on the streets to make money. Plus a lot of garbage is left behind and it’s really bad for the environment. If the empty alleys and old buildings were remade or cleaned a bit to make a hotel style place specifically for the homeless as a temporary shelter, it might clear the streets reducing the litter, opening space for people to walk by and to help those who can’t help themselves. It might give the homeless people some time to stop worrying about finding a home and to start thinking about a way to get money like finding easy jobs nearby. Homelessness is terrible and needs to be dealt with. It would be a really great way to use the space.

  10. Joaquin

    I think if we fixed all the empty lots like the one on Expo Blvd that no one uses except for Cirque du Soleil, we could build cheap apartments for the homeless and the people who can’t buy $1 million homes. I think that instead of tearing down homes and then making expensive apartments that only hold 1 person per suite, the city needs to remember there are a lot of families who need affordable places to live. This would be a better use of these areas because instead of having a perfectly good spot just there being used once in a while they can take some of the homeless off the street or help people that are having trouble with money. The city has become too expensive to live in, even for people who have good jobs and work full time. To buy a house now you have to win the lotto!

  11. The Bean

    In Vancouver there is all kinds of bridges and roads to accommodate the constant traffic but I think the space underneath has a lot more potential then realized. I have seen a few skate parks here and there but a majority of the space is left bare and unused. Some times homeless people sleep in those spaces but the city could consider making the spaces more livable or even build shelters. Since it’s covered the people would have some protection from the weather and more space to keep possessions , sleep and build. We could put fences or small walls to keep people safe from traffic and create spaces to grow food (although it wouldn’t get a lot of light). Lights could be built in to keep residents warm as well as things like bathrooms and even maybe small kitchen appliances so they could store and make food. These kinds of changes would make the streets of downtown safer and more livable for all the people who need it and would make good use out of a space that goes generally un-noticed.

  12. Rouge

    Kind of adding on to Joaquin’s post I think that we could make more community gardens or green spaces on old viaducts or bridges that are no longer wanted to be used for cars. In particular the viaducts over top of the empty lot currently housing Cirque du Soleil are supposedly going to be torn down in the next 2 years so the builders can put in a park below. I think that instead of taking down the viaducts (small bridges used to control traffic) we could instead put gardens there and block them off from car and bus traffic. The above ground gardens would provide a clean and beautiful location for communities to come together and help out our environment and ecosystem. Also there is a park in New York that I went to called “Highline Park” it was a park and garden above ground level, built so that city people could still enjoy nature in their own home and city. Also the park would be above the ground and sidewalk so it takes up no land space and only takes up sky space connected in between buildings and other businesses. This public green space would be better because it would take up no land space, it would not be used by cars or traffic and it would make the buildings around it have an even lovelier place to live.

  13. super cheese cake

    I think we can plant some plants on the top of some of those high-rise buildings to make it look green and pretty so we won’t lose all the plants on those lands because of building those buildings on them. Also in Chinatown, I’ve been there sometimes there are some allies full of trash and homeless people. We can help them by making a shelter for them and not just throwing garbage everywhere I think we can plant some plant too to make it look beautiful and not that freaky at night.

  14. the DUDE

    In Stanley Park there are lots full of trees and flowers and wildlife. This is great and all, and it’s beautiful, but I think that space could be used more wisely by having a community garden full of vegetables and fruit. This would really take care of our city’s homeless/hunger problem. I can’t remember quite where this is, but there’s a lot that is just full of dirt and garbage that has been there for half of my life. I think that space would be more fit for a soup kitchen. There’s also a heck of a lot of abandoned parking lots in Vancouver that could be used for growing produce. For example, more community gardens could go there or a very cheap farmer’s market. These changes would affect the local people around those areas and the homeless and starving. They would also affect our perspective on certain neighbourhoods. If there are just abandoned lots, we think, “this must be a lousy community”. If we have rows and rows of vegetables in a community garden, then we think, “this community is resourceful and really respects the environment”.

  15. The Baconator

    I THINK THAT……………………
    There is a lot of space to be used along the sides of highways. Sometimes trees are there to give privacy to people but they don’t put anything special there, they don’t put plants that make it better for the environment they just place any type of trees.
    A lot of the highways don’t have people living there because it is far from civilisation and so the government should put plants there because if it is far from people who won’t do them any harm. These newly placed plants will be plants that animals like to eat, build shelter, and so they can have their offspring. Some could have berries for birds and some could be good building material.
    The plants could be affected by the gas that cars burn and then the animals would eat the contaminated plants. I would fix this by surrounding the plant area with something to protect the things inside from the pollution. Of course we would have oxygen in the space and some carbon too so that EVERYTHING can breathe.
    This will help the world because if animals live then the carbon cycle can do its thing [which is a cycle that includes carbon and oxygen]

  16. Ginger

    I think that the undersides of bridges are underutilized spaces in our city. The Granville, Burrard, Cambie and Port Mann Bridge are all very large yet none of them have anything underneath, causing a large base and structure, but nothing other than the bridge to hold. There has been an ongoing problem of car and bicycle accidents over the past few years, so my proposal is that the City of Vancouver builds bike/pedestrian routes underneath all bridges one-thousand meters and more. I have chosen this length because some bridges are not tall enough for another level. The route would be structured underneath the bridge and would be like a clone of the bridge, yet smaller and closer to ground level. These bridges would be very helpful in the sense of safety and efficiency. These bridges would be safer for bikers, walkers and vehicle drivers alike, due to decreased accidents. If the city were to install bike/ pedestrian routes, more people could stop driving their cars to work and school and use a method which is better for the environment and for their own personal health.

  17. iron lanturn

    I know public gardens are great, but I’ve been usually just sitting around so I think there should be parks in that place to make them less dull for kids those fields could have playgrounds sandboxes and other features.
    another way to make public gardens less dull for kids and also help the gardens are to have a metal water works so that kids can play with that, but it will also water the plants at the same time. fun that that waters
    plants would be awesome!
    it would be a great boost to the environment in the future.

  18. A.ayewthelegend

    The area around the “east van” sign could do with some brightening up. The area is being turned into an apartment building so know it won’t get much light but what I would do would be to take the energy that the building uses up and I would use it to power a stream near there. There would also be a park next to the stream and that park would be quite large and it would have a few public gardens that the people in the apartment building could care for seeing as they wouldn’t have their own gardens. To compensate for the lack of light coming in I would make the building long and wide but short so there will still be light coming into the area.


    I think that some parks aren’t used as much like McAuley park because other park’s have play equipment and this one does not. I also think that most park’s are used by smaller children and they will normally play at park’s with a playground. I think what we could do is we can put in some solar power lights through out the area so at night it light’s up the area and we could also put in a couple of garden bed’s or some fruit tree’s as well.

  20. baconguy

    On South East Marine Drive there is a old and tattered building that is not being used. It’s a wreak and takes up a whole block so it has good potential to be one huge building or lots of smaller ones. I think that a park would be good for the area because it doesn’t seem very green and natural with all those stores around it.

  21. balloongirl123

    I think that we could do something important to put on rooftops and plants and growing other stuff but sometimes people don’t do anything for any rooftops it is dangerous going up one but sometimes that a rooftop is important to keep stuff like growing plants.

  22. Purple Pickle

    A place in the city I think isn’t being used to it’s full potential is Everett Crowley park in south east Vancouver. I would (along with the dog park part of it) create underground water pipes that collect the water from the park and clean it through a filter then have it run out through water fountains all over the populated places in Vancouver so homeless people can have something to drink without having to go all the way from downtown to say trout lake or into a mall just to get water. after the water that hasn’t been drunk goes down the water fountains drain it goes through another filter in case somebody spat in the water fountain or put something in it and it would go back into the lake then repeat the process. this new water system would benefit the lake and poor or homeless people, it would benefit the lake because it would clean it out so it won’t get all swampy, and it would benefit the homeless so the don’t get water deprived.

  23. Arctic owl

    I think that there is lots of areas in Vancouver that are not being used to the fullest . Stanley park has a lot of space and is very big there is more room for something else that would make it even better . Like a garden with fruit and vegetables how this can make a change is that it would get more people to come and make it a better more social community . The other reason why is because the food in that garden could be for a good cause . Maybe go to the local food bank . Why it would be better is because it would give it a nice touch and be for a good cause .

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