Digging Up The Streets in Montreal

When I'm walking through a city I have a game I play, you've probably done it too:  I imagine what you could do with all the open space if cars suddenly disappeared. You get a taste  when you stumble onto one of the pedestrianized downtown malls that are becoming increasingly popular.

But making window-shopping more pleasant just can't be the apex of the new green metropolis.   And what about spaces outside the downtown?

Yesterday here in Montreal, the borough of Le Plateau Mont-Royal announced plans to close 10 to 15 residential streets and convert them into parks, community spaces and farmers markets. The first street will be closed in the coming weeks and the rest done over the course of 2010. Here's a short excerpt from the local coverage:

"Mayor Luc Ferrandez announced the borough will close off one of the Plateau's north-south streets to cars, and next year dig it up to expand a local park.

The move is a first step toward undoing decades of urban planning that favoured cars over people."

Ferrandez and the Projet Montreal party swept last year's election by promising projects exactly like this one.  Residents strongly supported a platform that focused on the environment and community space.  Now that those ideas are starting to transform the city's streets, the borough has become a bit of a living laboratory for reclaiming and greening urban neighbourhoods.

I'll watching with interest to see how things play out on the ground. 


(thnx Toby)

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This is a blog for news and views on the future of sustainable cites. A major revamp is in the works. Until then I am keeping this version up as an archive of my past writing.

You can expect occasional updates, but not with the same frequency as in the past.

You can also find my writing on urban redesign and sustainability in ReNew Canada, The Mark, Sustainable Cities Canada, WorldChanging, and other more specialized academic publications.

Info on my consulting work, c.v. and current research focus is all here.