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Case Studies 

Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.

*Nominee 

Picnurbia

Vancouver

British Columbia

Canada

Contributed by 
Project for Public Spaces
 on 
August 13, 2015
December 22, 2017

What makes it Great?

Why it doesn't work?

During the summer of 2009, Picnurbia, an undulating 116 square meters of yellow astroturf hillocks, arrived on Vancouver’s Robson Street. Designed as a downtown alternative to out-of-town beach trips, Picnurbia acted as an extensive picnic blanket for city residents and visitors. The installation offered pedestrians a much needed gathering space in the heart of the city. Originally, the installation temporarily occupied a single lane of traffic, as its designers at Loose Affiliates, in collaboration with the municipal program Viva Vancouver, turf supplier SYNLawn, and engineering firm Fast + Epp, established the installation as a “summertime node”. The popularity of the project led public space advocates to circulate a petition to permanently close the block to all motorized traffic, which gathered 1,167 signatures in just a few weeks. Now, the 800-block of Robson shuts down to auto traffic every summer in a seasonal extension of Robson Square. Picnurbia exemplifies the positive potential of LQC in planning; initiated as a temporary activation, Picnurbia allowed city-goers to view Robson Street as a pedestrian-friendly rather than a car-prioritized site, so much so that proponents mobilized to enact long-term change in the public space by petitioning its annual closure to automobiles. The annual closure of the 800-block of Robson Street and its activation is facilitated by VIVA Vancouver, the city’s program to turn “road spaces into vibrant people spaces”. 

Access & Linkages

Comfort & Image

Uses & Activities

Sociability

How Light?

The installation was constructed using SYNLawn astroturf, timber, and plywood.

How Quick?

Picnurbia took a full day to completely install and lasted an entire summer.

How Cheap?

The exact cost of Picnurbia is unknown but it is estimated to have cost around $100,000.

History & Background

Related Links & Sources

Photo credits, from left: Moody Man via Flickr, City of Vancouver via Flickr, Viva Vancouver

Website: vancouver.ca/viva

Facebook: facebook.com/VivaVancouver

Twitter: @Viva_Van

Picnurbia
Picnurbia
The playful structures allow for a variety of uses
Picnurbia
Picnurbia
Robson St on a regular day
Picnurbia
Picnurbia
Picnurbia
Picnurbia

*Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.

NOMINATE A PLACE

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