Doing the right work-a passion story co-creating public space


We have all heard the adage “you can do the work right, or  you can do the right work”. In my case I never did the right work, it was a group of irrationally passionate citizens that inspired working in concert to create amazing projects that changed neighbourhoods, communities, and city policies. Their nexus of creativity has informed how to do co-creation across North America.

The best work is not only when others participate, it is when other people wholeheartedly nurture, co-create, and own the project . That is the complete success of doing the work right in public spaces, when others take over the story and the stewardship. It is all about giving away as much expertise as you can. To create a walkable, social city, you need places to walk to and through and to connect to. These places and spaces need to be interesting, inviting, germane, close to shops and services, and they need to fit in.

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And here is a small list of what was achieved with the resident driven approach:

Blooming Boulevards- Now city policy and adopted in other municipalities internationally;


The Country Lane-Demonstration of a sustainable alternative to the paving of back lanes that create new public spaces slowing traffic, reducing rain run off onto private lands, and extending gardening spaces;


The Tupper Neighbourhood Greenway-Transformation of a street closed thirty years due to car racing into a public space, gardening, and community hub;


The Avalon Greenway-Creating a pathway with public art  and a respite area connecting two streets and a school on the site of the last dairy operation in Vancouver;

The Larry Young Playground and Pathway-Transforming  a block long stretch of vacant land incorporating the rapid transit elevated guideway and embracing a playground geared at young children, and an inviting pathway connecting bus stops, shops, services and community.


There are many more examples of great passionate people led public space projects that I have been part of.  I’ll elaborate on the extraordinary citizens and  projects mentioned and more-please  check back here to read the  remarkable things that irrationally passionate neighbours have achieved. I have been so thankful to be along for the ride.


Sandy James






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