Olympic Village Public Realm Study

With partners, the elementslab conducted an observational study of people using the public realm at the Olympic Village in Vancouver, BC to evaluate if the design goals and strategies were being met in practice.

The public realm of the Olympic Village was designed with intent of creating a sense of place and a very walkable and livable neighbourhood. This study evaluated the public realm against its goals of: expressing sustainability, enabling a vibrant public experience, developing a sense of place, inspiring connections to the site and its history, connecting to adjacent neighbourhoods, and enhancing the pedestrian and cyclist experience.

We took short video clips to capture people moving through, and hanging out in the Village Square, along the waterfront and in Hinge Park from December 2015 to July 2016. We also conducted an on-line survey of people found using the spaces. Through analysis and mapping the data, we found significant numbers of people using the public spaces throughout the year, in all weather, during the week and on weekends. In poor weather, people were mostly moving- walking, jogging and biking. In good weather and on weekends the numbers of people sitting and hanging out increased dramatically. In the survey, a large majority of people reported returning to use the public spaces at least once each week, and often more than that.

Project Profile

Research Team: Cynthia Girling, Kejia Zheng, Marjan Ebneshahidi, Hanyu Gao