Pop-up Park

Many people are probably familiar with the concept of pop-up stores. They are temporary stores in various settings: warehouses, street venues, markets, convention centres, department stores. They can market anything: clothing, beauty products, furniture, food. They provide the seller with a temporary space that can be affordable in order to promote a product and have direct contact with people. There is the hope this will lead to a more established business either in an actual retail space or on-line. It can also be an existing company showcasing a new product. Where the venue is a pop-up store within a store, the main store gets to utilize an available space and benefits by engaging people with their products as well. The temporary store also caters to the concept of constant change with something new, and this is exciting and marketable.

Vancouver’s Park Board has utilized this concept in the form of its first pop-up park located at the southeast corner of West 5th Ave. and Pine St. It is temporary but aspects of it will be used for a future park that will incorporate the whole block. There is already a park at the northwest corner of the block at 6th Ave. and Fir St. bordering part of the Arbutus Corridor. The idea is to engage the neighbourhood in promoting and utilizing more public green space, in a sustainable manner that is cost effective.

The new pop-up park will feature bird and bee pollinators as part of the Park Board’s Biodiversity Strategy. This strategy will improve and expand the habitat for pollinators, birds, urban salmon and herring, beavers and otters, etc. and so enrich the ecological health of the city. The pop-up park will have bird and bee houses, plants for pollinators, edible plants, outdoor seating incorporating long fir tables created from a fallen fir tree in Stanley Park, lighting and bike racks. You can also see a cistern below the roof of the building in the picture, which collects rainwater for the plants. The bee mural on the same building promotes the pollinator project and brightens the area.

This is a wonderful project and it would be great not only to see its expansion to more parks but somehow incorporated into new and existing residential buildings. Why not have productive green space where practical and employ a cistern system that collects the abundance of rainwater we have by living in a rain forest! Rain water, filtered where necessary, could be used for outdoor plants, washing cars and when in abundance for all household purposes except perhaps drinking and cooking. This is not a new concept, and is employed already to varying degrees in some residential and commercial buildings. It just needs the will and inspiration to employ it more generally.