A neighbourhood in the heart of Montreal, ravaged by a highway construction in the 1970’s, is undergoing a profound transformation. The project, known as Project Champ-de-Mars Sector, includes the creation of a new public space over the highway, the redesign of existing public spaces, a rehaul of the transportation plan and a rethink of the neighbourhood’s life and identity, including cohabitation with the local homeless populations. The percolab team has been accompanying the city of Montreal in a ground-breaking co-design process for this initiative.

The collaborative approach extends both internally and externally: there are co-planning workshops with the multiple divisions of the city and the borough as well as events in public spaces, an online platform and targeted workshops with citizens. Actively engaging with the pertinent stakeholders throughout the project is a significant shift in practice and in possibilities. The project is weaving its way forward as the participatory process advances.

Percolab approaches each participatory activity from a pedagogical perspective – the aim is to ensure that individuals feel

  • welcomed into the process
  • informed and aware of the complexity
  • connected to the possibilities
  • supported in expressing their ideas
  • reassured as to an ongoing feedback loop

Percolab’s focus is to encourage and facilitate the expression of informed and constructive individual voices and the emergence of a collective voice via fine-tuned, creative and strategic processes and tools. Co-planning and co-design requires a delicate building of trust between diverse actors and fostering a culture of agility and openness, all the while working within a wide range of constraints (engineering, architectural, technical, legal, organizational).

The public page on the process is here:  http://realisonsmtl.ca/secteurchampdemars

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