The article in the September 2012 issue about Sing!, the multi-lingual karaoke kiosk in Vancouver, seemed to imply that Urban Republic was coerced into locating the kiosk downtown. The article stated that “The city used funding restrictions to persuade them to relocate downtown.” Although the project was initially conceived as an activity to bring residents of linguistically diverse neighbourhoods together, Urban Republic made the decision to launch the project downtown. We believe the opportunity to obtain sponsorship from the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association (DVBIA) and the City of Vancouver through its Viva Vancouver program was critical to the development and realization of the Sing! karaoke kiosk. We applaud our sponsors for backing not just the kiosk, but numerous other public-space projects that have taken place downtown during the last two summers. Urban Republic supports the continuation of the Viva Vancouver program and would encourage more private sponsors to partner with the City to bring thoughtfully designed and programmed public activations to neighbourhoods across Vancouver. In short, the availability of funding from the DVBIA was viewed as an incentive, not a restriction. Sometimes when it comes to funding small-scale design interventions, money not only talks, it can Sing! 

Peeroj Thakre
Urban Republic Arts Society