From Philipp Dittus of The Loose Affiliates: Picnurbia, an artificial picnic landscape we designed and realised in collaboration with the city’s VIVA Vancouver Program, was installed Tuesday on Robson Square by the fabulous Carpentry Team of Vancouver City’s Manitoba Yards.

It was handed over to the public in the afternoon and was inhabited almost instantly.  It will be installed until Labour Day weekend.

People approached, most of them with a pet-the-carpet-gesture, which was followed by entering the wave, sitting or laying down, posing for a photo, having a snack, meeting and talking to strangers, reading a book, running over the wave, sunbathing and, of course, doing logrolls.


Most of these are activities we somehow expected. But Picnurbia is also a picnic wave. We want to explore that possibility during an opening gathering with a BYOPicnic on this Friday afternoon, the 12th of August, from 5-8pm. Bring your friends, family and co-workers …

[Philipp gives recognition to the City’s carpenters – and I’d like to recognize Scott Edwards, in the Engineering Department, who is  stickhandling  VIVA Vancouver – ” transforming street spaces into people places and giving you extra space to walk, bike, dance, skate, sit, hang out with friends and meet your neighbours.”

Scott said they were initially looking at a site in Mt. Pleasant for Picnurbia – and then realized they had an opportunity to use this block of Robson.  Nice work.  Indeed, Picnurbia promises to be so successful that it will – like so many experiments before it, from traffic-calming in the West End in 1972 to the bikes lanes of 2010 – change how we see and use our street space.  As Janette Sadik-Khan, the New York Traffic Commissioner, said in Vancouver a few years ago, the streets are a city’s most valuable, affordable and promising real estate.]



  1. I was having a friendly debate with a friend about how sad I was about the fact that buses would soon be returning to Robson Square, causing me to lose my ped-only experience there. My friend was trying to argue that one can still have a public place with transit running through it (e.g. plazas in europe with streetcars).

    Picnurbia is such a great example of 1) great stuff that cannot happen if transit is using the street (all programming must be kept on the already constrained sidewalks and 2) how desperate people are in this City for public spaces that encourage and provide spaces for lingering.

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