In early 2011, a few neighbours in the Mountain View area were kicking around some ideas on fun things to do to improve the neighbourhood. We thought of park benches, and “welcome to the neighbourhood” signs but wanted something with a bit more legacy and interactivity. In 2000, a series of street plaques were installed on street lamps as part of a project called Portraits V2K and its related print book. This seemed like a cool idea. We thought this latest project of historic street markers was a good way to bank on the success of our newly unfurled street banners and get in the mood of the Vancouver 125th Anniversary celebrations. We are excited that our informational street plaques will beautify and create interest along Fraser Street.
A few of us got together and with the little time that busy neighbours have, were able to design, research and get partners in place to launch some street art.
In conjunction with the printed street historical markers, we were keen to enhance this project with a digital online component that takes advantage of social networking and mobile phone usage. The signs have an instruction to allow users with mobile phones to get more information, as well as ‘interact’ by scanning a QR Code with applicable smart phones. The interaction is simple – scan and get a hyperlink in return, your mobile device gets some additional information delivered to it.
For example, you walk up to the corner of say 28th & Fraser. There’s a little sign attached to a City lamp standard that says, “scan here”. What you get back to you is a little factoid about the ‘hood. For example, “Did you know someone was buried under the street at this spot in 1887 because of a deep snowfall that year stopped all horse carriages? Link here for more info…”
Ideally, users would leave their own mark, sharing something (an idea, some info) in the context of the place. It might be as simple as posting a comment, and a tweet with a pre-assigned #hashtag. It would be something that we could expand over time as a “living document.” People could comment, or add their own over time: ie. “This is where I first saw the woman I married.”
The value of this component is that it is innovative, future thinking and updateable. There are many groups in Vancouver who are currently gathering stories from local residents and this could be an excellent repository and collection source. Social networking and “tagging” is extremely popular and would create new interest in our collective history.
Every year, the community comes together to celebrate at our annual blockparty and this is where we were able to showcase our latest accomplishments. The celebration showcased the 4 unique banners, and informational plaques with map of their installation sites, and displays archival information on why they are relevant to our neighbourhood. We hope you enjoy reading about our neighbourhood and maybe you’ll be inspired to add on to this project and get some signs put on your historic streets. Feel free to contact us.
Get ready to learn some interesting history and create your own shared digital stories in our community archive.
info [at] vancouverstreetstories.com