The epidemic and its restrictions have led us to occupy roads, parks and other common areas within the city, through transient and transitional developments (certain arterial walkways, installation of street furniture, waste land and alleys). However, these initiatives to distribute the urban environment for a common use have shown the deep need to connect public spaces with city life on a daily basis.
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Urban environments are now structurally designed with productivity in mind. They allow citizens to move quickly and have easy access to a wide range of products and services. What the epidemic has shown us is that humans must also invest in places to “create” communities there, without necessarily having any connection to any productive capacity. Citizens want to feel the public space and gradually rebuild it.
From this perspective, urban fabric is mainly pronounced around the development of the neighborhood and especially around a softening of the post-industrial spaces before the center of Montreal. The coast, which has recently been redesigned and explored by citizens, represents a key area for this development. We must learn to evaluate them and rebuild them gradually.
Water provides a new central role
Formerly a central element around which cities were built and economies developed, water seems to have lost its aristocratic letters in terms of socialization and everyday space, in favor of shifting goods and shifting industrial production. Impossible, bent, polluted, dried up or deformed for the convenience of industrialization, Quebec’s reservoirs have lost their luster in the collective imagination. However, due to their multiplicity in the region and their willingness to share to access them, they offer numerous opportunities to create joint ventures.
In addition, while environmental protection is a major issue for the entire planet, coastal development and making them accessible to citizens helps create a strong link between humans and water, highlighting the need for concrete action to protect this vital resource. .
Conditions for success
How do we ensure that coastal development benefits both society and the environment? Decision makers and promoters must think of projects collectively, bringing together different segments of the community: citizens, NPOs, local authorities, universities, schools, cultural, artistic and even industrial environments.
The argument should not be made at any cost, but should be rebuilt slowly, in a sustainable and thoughtful way, with the promise of an environmental and social transition.
The entertainment industry can see this as a path to development. However, the dominance of this sector should not be created, as is the case in certain sectors of the city of Montreal and in certain public places. The development of these venues should be considered not only for hosting events, but also taking into account the needs of the citizens. Water must be a public space and accessible to the public.
Urban development and design practice must now be integrated into a post-growth context. The shortcomings of the city must be highlighted and presented as a challenge and project to the community for the collective good.
* Co-signers: Emily Gagnon and Pierre Moro-Lin, founding members of the urban design and event cooperative Le Comité; Anuk Belangar, Professor in the Department of Social and Public Communications, UKAM