In-between Spaces


In-Between Spaces is a placemaking project that will enhance under-used public spaces in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES). The project’s goal is to create vibrant public spaces that residents who are marginalized can access easily, safely, and with dignity. We aim to achieve this goal through creative community-centered projects that emphasize of joy, belonging, and participation in public spaces. These projects will adhere to COVID-19 public health recommendations, and will foster meaningful social interaction and celebration in a community deeply impacted by the pandemic.

Although the In-Between Spaces project’s physical outcome is enhanced public spaces, the greater intended outcome is elevated community connectedness through increased access to arts and amenities. To date, we’ve completed some small-scale projects: a photo installation of neighborhood pets, a holiday light lending program, and care packages for quarantined residents. Our next project will revitalize an alleyway by suspending network of hanging umbrellas overhead. A metaphor of joy and positivity despite rainy weather and difficult times, the project aims to bring a sense of play and wonder to a typically overlooked space.

Our next project is to create an open-air pop-up market. This public project can act as a venue for local food-trucks offering discounts on hot meals, community artisans selling their wares, and free or low-cost clothing and book exchanges. Although the market will be a consistent fixture, it’s fluid programming would reflect the needs of the community. We are scouting suitable outdoor locations that allow operation regardless of weather.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to expose how residents of the DTES face systemic barriers to basic public services. Individuals in the neighborhood experiencing poverty or homelessness are constantly at risk of contracting COVID-19, and often lack adequate access to shelter or healthcare. Although indoor community spaces that existed before the pandemic are have slowly been adapted to heed public health guidelines, this project aims to address the lack vibrant outdoor public spaces that recognize the unique needs and resilience of the neighborhood.

Project activities thus far have directly engaged residents of the DTES, and will continue to seek guidance, participation, and feedback from community members. In addition to the aforementioned projects, we intend to facilitate an audiovisual “photo-voice” project that allows residents to share their perspectives on the neighborhood’s public spaces through images and voice recordings. A type of autoethnography, photo-voice is a qualitative research method makes participants researchers in their own life. Through this project, locals can identify spaces that need improvement. The future efforts of the In-Between Spaces project can then address these spaces. The photos will be shared through a self-reflective process with project staff. The final pictures will be displayed in public spaces in the DTES. This project will publicly acknowledge the resourcefulness and resilience of community members while acknowledging areas in need of further support.



Project Location