Penser créer l'urbain

Design and foresight

Mobilize creative approaches as methods of knowledge and action

The various public workshops of the Forum were designed, organized and facilitated by an interdisciplinary team (Sociology, Design, Art History) of UQAM and Université de Montréal researchers as well as social innovation organizations experienced in mediation techniques and connoisseurs of the surrounding neighbourhoods of the future MIL Campus (Exeko and Mise au jeu). These workshops were carried out in collaboration with the commissioner for cultural mediation of the City of Montreal. The main goal of this Forum was to develop over two days a creative community based on the knowledge of the citizens. It revived the already documented reflection on integrated urban campuses and enriched it with transformative actions (theater-forum, mediation workshops, commented walks in the neighbourhoods, vox pop, directed mapping, prospective co-design on scenarios of circular economy…).

Design activities (“Walking to Document” and “Ideation Workshop on Tomorrow’s Campus”) were conceived by Carole Lévesque (Professor, School of Design, UQAM) and by Christophe Abrassart (Professor, Faculty of Urban Planning, Université de Montréal), accompanied by their students in Environmental Design, Social Design, development and urban planning. The proposals that follow are thus at the frontiers of environmental design, social design and urban foresight. They invite to imagine and conceive the neighbourhood of tomorrow, around and on the Campus, taking into account the aspirations of the residents of Parc Extension. Walks, urban maps, co-design sessions are the main methods that researchers have chosen to focus on.

Carole Lévesque suggests here a conception of walks as a method of exploration and knowledge of the city – a step prior to any proposal for an urban development plan that would be based on the question of living together. Five different routes were therefore marketed and mapped. Building on the documentation of these five pedestrian paths and considering the specific strengths and challenges of the area, the design students Carolynn Cipriani, Martin Laferrière and Elise Marchal present here a reflection on the possible development of the Parc Extension neighbourhood regarding the arrival of the MIL Campus. Their main goals are: to open up the district from its centre; to reduce the effects caused by the physical limitations that characterize it; and, above all, to improve the living environment by ensuring “the retention of some vagueness and deletion of the limits which would enable us to live in a neighbourhood that is both resilient and inventive”.

Christophe Abrassart and his students Caroline Cyr (Master’s of Urban Planning) and Nicolas Lavoie (Ph.D, Urban Planning & Design), for their part, propose through the workshops that they facilitated a foresight co-design exercise where it was suggested to imagine possible versions of the neighbourhood in 2026. From foresight scenarios, proposals for new collaborations that can associate the research laboratories of the future Campus (professors, students) to the know-how of the actors of the neighbouring districts (inhabitants, NPOs, companies) have emerged as well as new activities at the scale of a neighbourhood. The circular economy and the “active mobilities” suggested have great potential for “inventing the sustainable city through the implementation of new loops of redesign”. Can this approach to the sustainable city, from the point of view of “its lived rhythms, life styles and everyday life gestures, constitute an original way of connecting” the Campus and the neighbouring districts?