CityStudio Engaging Neighbourhoods

Community engagement looks like this

September 27, 2012

CityStudio Vancouver students (l to r) Jaclyn Bruneau, Rebecca Till and Victoria Veidner helped install a wooden picture frame at Adanac Street and Commercial Drive that turns the orphaned space’s view of the North Shore mountains into a work of art.
CityStudio Vancouver students (l to r) Jaclyn Bruneau, Rebecca Till and Victoria Veidner helped install a wooden picture frame at Adanac Street and Commercial Drive that turns the orphaned space’s view of the North Shore mountains into a work of art.

Engaging neighbourhoods

When city staffers asked students in the experiential-learning pilot program CityStudio Vancouver to find ways to reconnect orphaned city corners to nature and the community, the students quickly complied.

They mapped out 30 underutilized spaces in the Grandview Woodlands neighbourhood and created a database that will act as a valuable resource for the city.

Then they worked with city workers to install a wooden picture frame on a triangular patch of city land at Adanac Street and Commercial Drive.

The frame turns the orphaned space’s view of the North Shore mountains into a work of art that visitors can interact with and enjoy from a newly installed bench opposite the frame.

The idea arose out of community discussions when the students discovered that local seniors needed a nice place to sit outdoors.

The project was so successful Starbucks has since donated $25,000 to transform other orphaned spaces.

The Frame is just one of several successful student projects initiated through CityStudio, an energetic hub of learning and leadership where students design and implement Greenest City 2020 solutions.

The for-credit pilot, which includes undergraduates from six post-secondary institutions, is “a different kind of engagement,” says co-founder Janet Moore, an assistant professor who she teaches in the Undergraduate Semester in Dialogue Program.

“It’s their ideas hitting the ground in the city and they have to work with the city to implement them.

“Students have a lot of amazing ideas and not a lot of people listen to them. This gives them a voice and a way to engage.”

Following the pilot’s success, organizers are now considering more trans-institutional, interdisciplinary courses to achieve Greenest City goals through CityStudio.

To apply for the CityStudio spring 2013 program visit http://citystudiovancouver.com/program/.

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