On Friday, I joined a friend at the North Van Night Market at the Shipyards. It was abuzz. There’s a market, with food and crafts, live music and a long row of food trucks. It’s a wonderful venue; it was crowded, but there’s lots of space to stretch into with plenty of nautical seating throughout the space. My friend and I grabbed some food from one of the trucks and then headed out to the pier that juts into the water – the further out you go, the more space. And the view! I always enjoy the shift in perspective when looking at the City of Vancouver from the North Shore. It was a blast, a lively mix of music and people. I picked up a bag full of fresh produce, we nibbled on samples, and had a gelato to cool off.
I have been over to Lonsdale Quay many times and have always found it somewhat lifeless. Even though they have a plaza in front of the building that overlooks the water, it’s never really taken off as a gathering place. Yet right next door there is this hot spot, that is apparently jammed every Friday night through the summer. And it’s not only locals who are attracted, the night market has become a destination point.
I came across this website while working on my MA research that explains why one venue succeeds while another doesn’t. It’s called Urban Magnets, which is defined as: “unique urban places that attract and hold activity groups. These groups, through ‘living out loud,’ animate a place and give it vitality, a sense of place and economic success.” The braintrust behind the concept, which includes a team of local planners and architects, has developed an evolving theory around this practice of land use design. Whoever designed the shipyards space, hit exactly the right note. It was a fabulously fun evening and I will be back before summer’s end to live out loud.
If you want to learn more about designing lively and sustainable communities, check out the Certificate in Sustainable Community Development at SFU. In the course I facilitate, called Applications, we tour living models of sustainability in the lower mainland. You can take the courses à la carte or sign up for the entire program which starts in September. Registration closes August 28.