Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Complexities & Insights / Planning a Community Centre for Lower Capilano

 What essential components of design and programming are needed for a Lower Capilano community centre that engenders community identity, better community health and well being?  

 How do the facility design considerations serve a broad user base in the most inclusive manner? 
Why services –beyond sport and fitness - need to be provided in a multi-functional environment to successfully serve a wide range of community ages, abilities and needs.
Fitness gym at Mt. Pleasant Community Centre, Vancouver
These and other planning concerns formed the basis of the recent August 4th Community Centres Bus Tour, organized by DNV Planning Dept. with Annie Mauboules and Tom Lancaster.  Framed with an eye to creating community awareness of the complex considerations that go into creating a modern community centre, the tour covered four facilities, ranging from the suburban environment of Parkgate on the  North Shore, to the changing urban demographic of Mt. Pleasant.
The experience and insights gained on the tour deepened the knowledge base for tour participants on a number of fronts, for example: 
  •      Essential consideration for the role of storage immediately adjacent to multi-purpose rooms was noted by each facility manager.  Without sufficient storage, users are unable to efficiently re-purpose spaces in ways that guarantee successful programming.
  •      Social and community services function most efficiently and to greater benefit when they are combined in a manner that provides ‘one-stop shopping’ for users, integrating community health care centers and other population health initiatives.
  •       Governance models for community centres need to evolve to ensure appropriate community involvement that is accountable and flexible.
  •       The critical need for a variety of room size options and use of glass to promote cohesive and open interior spaces that invite participation and convey a sense of security and activity.            
    Senior's exercise classes / Activity room at John Braithwaite Centre
    Visiting the four sites gave participants practical knowledge of the range of facility size and planning requirements needed to successfully create an informed vision for  Lower Capilano community centre within a cohesive Village Centre plan.  
    Tour participants at John Braithwaite Centre meeting with centre manager.

     These planning perspectives will also inform the October 26  “Building a Community Living Room” event, part of the Big Bench Sessions series of community planning events organized by the CGA.
     Further details for this upcoming series of community events will be circulated in early September.

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