Back in October, PT declared the new roof decks on top of the Vancouver Central Library “Best new public space in Vancouver”. Spaces, actually, since the two top floors provide meeting rooms, quiet reading areas, displays, a theatre and three wonderful outdoor decks, along with gardens and amazing views. But it is missing one key thing.
Without that caffeinated attraction, there’s less incentive to take elevators for a casual meeting or get-away. Great public spaces do require some kind of programming or attraction to generate the ‘pull of other people’ – the sense that this is a good place to hang because other people are doing so too.
Otherwise there’s a sense of loneliness.
There’s a catch-22 here of course: not enough people to justify a coffee bar, no coffee bar to attract more people. The economics would be hard to justify. Perhaps a very slick stand-alone espresso machine might do the job. Let’s ask Starbucks for a contribution for the greater good.
Addendum: Michael Gordon added a comment to the first post on the Library Square roof that’s worth reprinting here:
I think among the key ingredients of a good public space are:
- a relaxed balance between gathering, socializing and movement
- movable tables and chairs
- sunshine and ideally a warm microclimate being protected from wind
- easy access to food
- parents feel comfortable leading go of a toddler’s hand and letting them wander a bit (need to be careful about folks on wheels riding through gathering spaces)
It seems that the Library roof has all of the above – except for “easy access to food.” Perhaps, though, the fact that it requires an elevator trip to get there is sufficient discouragement.
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