Rob Nordrum

Planning Student | Animal Lover | Kayaker | City Watcher | Vancouverite

Living at Bute: Possibilities for Public Space CityStudio Spring 2014

Living At Bute 2014

The Living at Bute project centers around public space, experimenting with future possibilities of the Bute Street plaza in the West End community of Downtown Vancouver.

The Bute Street plaza, also known as “The Heart of Davie Village”, was identified as an opportunity to not only encapsulate the culture and vibe of the Davie Street neighbourhood, but also foster connections and engagement among community members of the West End. The project stemmed from idea of the living room, the warm and inviting social hub in everyone’s home. With this project, the aim is to bring that warm and inviting environment out onto the streets.Working with VIVA Vancouver, we held three events over the month of March, 2014 that focused on having conversations with the community and stakeholders about the plaza and introducing new and fun activities. We created a collaborative chalkboard for pedestrians to write and draw feedback about the plaza, sparked conversation over hot chocolate and introduced new on-site activities, such as badminton and live music.


Hobson Lin, Rob Nordrum, Sarah Pratt, and Tim Lam.

Students Exploring Public Space - Living at Bute Team


The Living at Bute Team will be working with VIVA Vancouver to host an intervention at the Evergreen 100 in 1 Day event on Saturday June 7th.

For more information about the Bute Street Plaza, contact VIVA Vancouver.

Download the complete PDF copy of the report here.

The original CityStudio project page can be viewed here.


The Bute Street plaza is located adjacent to the well-known Rainbow Crosswalks at Davie Street and Bute Street, in downtown Vancouver. This plaza is Vancouver’s first ever neighbourhood street to public space conversion.



City explores ways to breathe life into Bute Street plaza
March 7, 2014 | Daily Xtra
“VIVA is working with different planning groups, including…students from City Studio who work on urban sustainability, to develop temporary public-space programming for the plaza.”

Bute Street plaza needs more community programming
April 3, 2014 | Daily Xtra
“Four months after Vancouver City Council approved a new community plan for the West End, city staff are working with CityStudio design students to implement the plan’s suggestions for the plaza.”

Living on the Streets
April 29, 2014 | CBC News Vancouver
A first in Vancouver!…Students from BC’s many post-secondary institutions took over Davie and Bute Street today in the West End of Vancouver, turning it into their own urban living room.


Hot Chocolate and Chalkboards
March 8, 2014 | 10AM – 4PM | Davie Street at Bute Street
The inaugural event where Living at Bute connected with the community over free hot chocolate and the unique three-panel chalkboard.

Girls with Balloons - Living at Bute

Serving Hot Chocolate - Living at Bute

Man Writing on Chalkboard - Living at Bute

Woman with Hat - Living at Bute

At the End of the Rainbow
March 16, 2014 | 10AM – 4PM | Davie Street at Bute Street
With an open invitation to find the “pot of gold” at the end of the rainbow, the community joined us for free hot chocolate, shared their ideas on the community chalkboard, had fun with a challenging horseshoe toss, and enjoyed a game of badminton.

Man Writing on Chalkboard - Living at Bute

Girl Horseshoe Toss - Living at Bute

Pot of Gold - Living at Bute

Girl Playing Badminton - Living at Bute

Live Out West End
March 29, 2014 | 10AM – 4PM | Davie Street at Bute Street
The culmination of the Living at Bute project, the team introduced a ‘living room’ to the plaza in addition to a series of activities, including badminton and a horseshoe toss. Complemented by a live music component, the event encouraged residents to bring their lives outside and showed the community that Bute Street Plaza is truly “The Heart of Davie Village”.

Guitar Player Being Filmed for CBC - Living at Bute

Lounging in the Red Couch and Pink Adirondack Chairs - Living at Bute

Girl Signing with Guitar Player - Living at Bute

Playing Horseshoes - Living at Bute

CityStudio is a project school and energetic hub of learning and leadership inside Vancouver City Hall where students gain hands-on experience with complex real world problems, while co-creating solutions on the ground with City staff. CityStudio also coordinates a large network of courses on 6 campuses that focus learning, research and action on challenges confronting the City.

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