Unlike the False Creek where the network of seawalks is readily identifiable, the green spaces in Marpole are segregated by major traffic thoroughfares and industrial landmasses along Fraser River. Since 2008 the Canada Line was introduced as an effective and sustainable means bringing visitors to Marpole. Beyond the station precinct, however, there is little wayfinding available for pedestrians and cyclists to navigate through the inner neighbourhood, nor is there any indication that Marpole being one of the oldest communities in Vancouver (second only to Gastown). Local residents may have become acquainted with pocket areas close to their homes, yet how these pockets tie in a larger system of public spaces and the riverfront is little known.
Supported by the Vancouver Foundation Neighbourhood Small Grants, “Marpole Walk” is a campaign initiated in 2015, aiming to weave a tapestry of neighbourhood features, including flora and fauna, heritage buildings, landmarks and other points of interests, based on the intimate knowledge shared by local residents. The findings are compiled into a simple map. Community participation in the construction of the map is therefore crucial and uniquely experimental in this project. During the height of the community’s resistance towards densification at the time, it is our belief that the grassroots can offer unique perspectives in neighbourhood design by revealing the subtlety and nuances that are often overlooked from a high level planning approach.