Practicing participatory citizenship at Space for Life


Four nature and science institutions, the Biodôme, the Insectarium, the Jardin Botanique and the Planétarium , are collectively known as Espace pour la vie (Space for life). The largest natural science museum complex in Canada, Espace pour la vie is committed to protecting biodiversity and to citizen participation.

In celebration of Montreal 375th anniversary, Space for Life will be renewing the Biodôme, building a Glass Pavilion for the Jardin Botanique, and metamorphosizing the Insectarium. To prepare for an international architecture competition for these three projects, Space for Life invited percolab to plan, design, and host a process, in the form of creative and participatory workshops, that engaged citizens to reflect on the scope of the new projects and to actively participate in co-designing what could be through experimentation and prototyping.

Percolab participated in every step of the process from co-designing the invitation process with the institution’s staff, to hosting and harvesting the events, and delivering four separate reports, one for each project, in addition to overall reflection to support the institution in further developing its capacity to engage in citizen participation.

Photos by Mathieu Rivard

Here is what some citizens had to say after participating:


“This is an excellent example of participation.” “I had fun!”


“It was over too fast.”
“My involvement was constructive.”

Glass Pavilion:

“I had fun and felt like I was contributing.”
“This was not a redundant experience.”
“I developed a fondness for this project and I want to make sure it is well implemented.”


Posted on

March 7, 2014