Connect Fort

Cambie Bridge

Connect Fort

A large scale blanket fort that is a space for all ages to meet, connect and play.

School:

SFU

Department:

Centre for Dialogue

Course:

SFU Semester at CityStudio

Instructors:

Janet Moore, Adrian Sinclair, Lisa Novak

City of Vancouver Partners:

  • Tobin Postma | Strategic Initiatives
  • Katie McPherson | Resilience
  • Lihwen Hsu | Public Space Engagement

Student Team:

  • Olivia Hui
  • Riley McLeod
  • Mischa Price
  • Alyssa Quan

Strategy:

  • Healthy City Strategy

City goal area(s):

  • Cultivating Connections

Summary

Connect Fort is a space for people to meet and interact with one another. We aimed to create a space where people could feel comfortable making new connections, and start to build trust.

Making new, genuine connections isn’t always easy in Vancouver (Vancouver Foundation 2012). Connect Fort supports Vancouver’s Healthy City Strategy goal of cultivating connections. Within this goal, we were inspired by the target that each citizen has 4 people that they can rely on for support in times of need. These social networks are also important to mental and emotional resiliency. With the development of Vancouver’s Resiliency Strategy, connection becomes a key factor to weathering any stresses or strains that may come our way.

We created a large-scale blanket fort that proved to be a great space for people of all ages to connect and relax. It was a way to capture nostalgia, fun and a sense of whimsy. The use of pillows and blankets provided warmth and coziness in the winter weather, while its childlike nature served as a reminder of the ease of making friends as a child.

Inside the fort we acted as hosts, welcoming guests and making them feel comfortable. Guests sat, made conversation, and played games around our faux fire. With ample seating and simple games, the environment became a space where connection and conversation happened easily. We provided free hot chocolate in mugs for warmth and a sense of home. Additionally, considering that there are people that need shelter in the winter, we collected several boxes of warm winter clothing donations from visitors for the Union Gospel Mission.

Connect Fort
Connect Fort

Scalability

This project has the potential to scale out and be repeated by constructing more forts. The original fort can also be passed on to another steward to avoid wastage. We’d also hope that more permanent placemaking projects can replicate the blanket fort’s ability to provide play and connection space for all ages.