Penser créer l'urbain

In 2019, a university campus will emerge from a waste land in Montreal. A group of researchers from Arts, Design and Humanities joined teams of social innovation to gather the “citizen’s knowledge”, the memories of the neighbourhood and the perspectives of those who live there. Together, they created a participatory research tool around creative ways of thinking about urban transformations.

Presentation

Université de Montréal’s MIL Campus, such as @ 22 in Barcelona or Cornell Tech in New York, belongs to a new generation of university campus projects that can be called “campuses integrated into the urban life”. However, based on the attractive vision of the “creative city”, these new urban programs raise the question of the concrete forms of integration and collaboration between universities and city players. Starting from these new places of knowledge, a collaborative project entitled “From a waste land to an integrated urban campus” emerged in 2015 with a mandate to reflect on this wave of integrated urban campuses from the emblematic example of Montreal.

Why create a website?

Penser créer l’urbain (2017) presents the stages and research results of the project “From waste land to an integrated urban campus” (2015-2016). The aim is to present this pilot research initiative based on a complementary and collaborative working method, unprecedented on the issue of university campuses that want to be integrated into the urban fabric.

Through an intuitive and ergonomic navigation, this interface makes it possible to understand visually: the structure of the project, the diversity of the participants and the mobilized methodologies and then to dive into the details of each research method or creative approach, to understand their complementarity and their contribution to research on rapidly changing urban spaces. This is the reason why the navigation categories proposed to the user of the website are open to one another, the themes intersect and the questions develop one through the other.

Partners

«From waste land to an integrated urban campus»: A collaborative project

The persons involved in this project are first and foremost researchers, students, institutions, members of social innovation organisations from Montreal, as well as from community based organisations.

Director

Magali Uhl, Professor, Sociology, Université du Québec à Montréal, Director of CÉLAT-UQAM

Researchers

Christophe Abrassart, Professor, School of Design, Faculty, Université de Montréal
Simon Harel, Professor, Literature and World Languages, Université de Montréal, CÉLAT
Ève Lamoureux, Professor, Art History, Université du Québec à Montréal, CÉLAT
Carole Lévesque, Professor, School of Design, Université du Québec à Montréal, CÉLAT
Danièle Racine, Commissioner for Cultural mediation, Cultural Services, Ville de Montréal

Université de Montréal’s MIL Campus, such as @ 22 in Barcelona or Cornell Tech in New York, belongs to a new generation of university campus projects that can be called “campuses integrated into the urban life”. However, based on the attractive vision of the “creative city”, these new urban programs raise the question of the concrete forms of integration and collaboration between universities and city players. Starting from these new places of knowledge, a collaborative project entitled “From a waste land to an integrated urban campus” emerged in 2015 with a mandate to reflect on this wave of integrated urban campuses from the emblematic example of Montreal.

Indeed, by 2019, from the vacant field left by the old railway yard of Outremont, will arise the first wings of the MIL Campus of the Université of Montréal. This large-scale project raises many questions. Under the aegis of CÉLAT (Centre de recherches Cultures – Arts – Sociétés), a team of researchers and students in Arts and Humanities interested in issues related to ways of thinking and organising an inclusive environment around the future Campus, joined a few social innovation groups of Montreal to gather the “citizen’s knowledge”, the memories of the neighbourhood and the projections of those who live there. Together, they created a participatory research tool around creative ways of thinking the association between the Campus and the surrounding neighbourhoods.

This active and creative research tool aims to rethink an urban space in requalification through a sequence of workshops and an open collective reflection regarding the inclusion of the future campus in the local social fabric. It is conceived according to the principle that space sharing should also be knowledge sharing. Two events took place in the Fall of 2016: a two-day Citizen Forum on September 16 and 17 and an Interdisciplinary and International Symposium on September 30.

The Forum was a civic and participatory event. It was made up of four workshops and was attended by a panel of about 40 participants, including residents from surrounding neighbourhoods, students, researchers, local actors and creators. During the two days, guided by researchers and professional speakers (cultural mediators and artists), the participants reflected in small groups starting from imaginary scenarios or other intellectual and physical exercises. They also browsed the site and its surroundings, walked in the neighbourhoods – from their main streets to their back yards – to collect images and testimonies documenting the daily life of local residents.

The originality of the Forum was to mobilize creative research approaches as knowledge methods allowing the revelation of potential forms of relationships between the campus and its environment, to formulate local common goods, and to explore possible areas of cooperation between the actors of the territory. In fact, this two-day event allowed the participants to experiment with the conditions and potential of a dialogue between the various local actors (campuses and neighbourhoods) with the aim to initiate future joint projects.

The Symposium intended to propose an international scientific summary regarding integrated urban campuses by mobilizing all elements of the citizen reflection and consultation process carried out upstream during the Forum. It has thus devoted itself to a public restitution of the Citizen Forum and to sharing experiences with other researchers working on similar issues or projects at international level, especially in Europe and Lebanon. The social goals of the project have therefore been coupled with specific scientific objectives.

The website Penser créer l’urbain reports on this collaborative and creative research and action tool. It shows the transformative potential of this type of approach, which, at the crossroads of Humanities, Arts and lived experience of the city, mobilizes the creative resources of research methodologies in order to contribute to social change.

By Magali Uhl

Penser créer l’urbain (2017) presents the stages and research results of the project “From waste land to an integrated urban campus” (2015-2016). The aim is to present this pilot research initiative based on a complementary and collaborative working method, unprecedented on the issue of university campuses that want to be integrated into the urban fabric.

Through an intuitive and ergonomic navigation, this interface makes it possible to understand visually: the structure of the project, the diversity of the participants and the mobilized methodologies and then to dive into the details of each research method or creative approach, to understand their complementarity and their contribution to research on rapidly changing urban spaces. This is the reason why the navigation categories proposed to the user of the website are open to one another, the themes intersect and the questions develop one through the other.

In this perspective, it is important to enhance the existing reflections on the subject, while proposing ways to encourage citizen participation in the appropriation of urban transformations based on the concrete example of the MIL Campus of the Université de Montréal; but also to present international perspectives and a prospective conception of these new integrated urban campuses from a creative point of view.

Penser créer l’urbain has become a website because this project is aimed above all at the people directly concerned by the establishment of the future MIL Campus on the grounds of the former Outremont railway yard: the citizens of the surrounding neighbourhoods of the future Campus (Parc-Extension, Outremont and Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie); the political decision-makers involved in this urban change, the architects and urban planners working on it; and those who will live on the future Campus site (students, professors, researchers, university employees, residents). But it also enters into dialogue with political decision-makers, designers, architects and urban planners, sociologists, anthropologists and mediators.

Then, on a broader level, Penser créer l’urbain is addressed to researchers in Humanities, Arts, Architecture and Design; Architects, city planners and policy makers working on similar integrated urban campus projects or other urban development in neighbourhoods undergoing requalification or rapid transformation in other cities and other geographical and cultural horizons at an international level.

Finally, through the presentation of the problems arising from the integration of a university campus into the urban fabric, this website also raises the question of the role of the Internet in the production of academic knowledge – in its relation with citizen’s knowledge. One could mention the notion of “noosphere”, a Karl Popper concept mobilized by Edgar Morin to question the “nature of ideas” and to evoke the complexity added to any research perspective since the knowledge sharing mechanisms evolved. Thus, from the perspective of penser créer l’urbain, around the core of questions that is at the origin of the project “From waste land to an integrated urban campus”, another concern, both theoretical and practical, emerges concerning the possibility of disseminating a university research and the complex relationships that are being tied online between the different types of knowledge (lived experiences, texts, photographic or video images) and the various web users.

By Sofia Eliza Bouratsis and Magali Uhl

Référence bibliographique

MORIN, E. (2009). « Chemins dans la noosphère », interviews done by Sofia Eliza Bouratsis and Jean-Marie Brohm,  Prétentaine, n° 25-26, pp. 503- 519.

«From waste land to an integrated urban campus»: A collaborative project

The persons involved in this project are first and foremost researchers, students, institutions, members of social innovation organisations from Montreal, as well as from community based organisations.

Director

Magali Uhl, Professor, Sociology, Université du Québec à Montréal, Director of CÉLAT-UQÀM

Researchers

Christophe Abrassart, Professor, School of Design, Faculty, Université de Montréal
Simon Harel, Professor, Literature and World Languages, Université de Montréal, CÉLAT
Ève Lamoureux, Professor, Art History, Université du Québec à Montréal, CÉLAT
Carole Lévesque, Professor, School of Design, Université du Québec à Montréal, CÉLAT
Danièle Racine, Commissioner for Cultural mediation, Cultural Services, Ville de Montréal

Partners

Exeko, Social innovation organisation promoting inclusion through culture and education, Montreal
Team: William-Jacomo Beauchemin, Nadia Duguay, Maxime Goulet-Langlois

Mise au Jeu, Participatory Forum-Theater Organisation, Montreal
Team: Luc Gaudet, Mayda Mekerian, Nancy Roberge

Vrac environnement, Community based organisation devoted to sustainable development in the Parc-Extension neighbourhood, Montreal. Collaborator : Simon Racine

Students associated with the project

Université du Québec à Montréal: Carolynn Cipriani, Martin Laferrière and Elise Marchal (Master’s in Design); Julie Bruneau and Philippe Doyle-Gosselin (Master’s in Art History) ; Julie Deslandes Leduc, Véronica Gomez, Véronique Granger, Laurence Jutras, Noé Klein, Valérie Rioux and Serge-Olivier Rondeau (Master’s in Sociology).

Université de Montréal: Caroline Cyr (Master’s in Urban Planning) ; Nicolas Lavoie (Ph.D. Urban Planning & Design).

Coordinators of the project, « From waste land to an integrated urban campus »

Carolyne Grimard, Ph.D, CÉLAT’s Scientific coordinator, Université du Québec à Montréal
Alexis Jonathan Martig, Ph.D, CÉLAT’s Scientific coordinator, Université Laval, Québec

Editorial coordination of the website and ebook « Penser créer l’urbain »

Sofia Eliza Bouratsis, Postdoctorante CÉLAT, Université du Québec à Montréal, Ph. D. Université Paris I – Panthéon-Sorbonne.

Editorial content of the website

Sofia Eliza Bouratsis and Magali Uhl

Translation

Carolyne Grimard

Photographer

Serge-Olivier Rondeau, visual artist, Master’s in Sociology, Université du Québec à Montréal

Acknowledgments

For their invaluable help and support throughout the project or during the Forum, we would like to thank: Isabelle Gauthier, Mia Jordan and Evelyne Arsenault (cultural agents of the City of Montreal for Outremont, Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension and Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie) ; Madeleine Rhéaume (Office of the Outremont site project) ; Céline Huyghebaert (assistant, editor, Cultural Mediation, Culture services, City of Montreal) ; Noémie Ashby (coordinator, Vrac Environnement) ; Victorine Crahes (Master’s in Urban Studies) ; Stéfanie Vermeersch (Independant designer, Montreal) ; Célia Forget (associate professor at CÉLAT-UQÀM).

Thanks to the guests of the Symposium, whose presentations and comments are published here according to the discussions held: Alain Boilard (Office of the Outremont site project), Alain Bourdin (Institut français d’urbanisme), Hélène Dang Vu (Université de Nantes), Anastasia El Rouss (YTAA architects, Beyrouth), Kai Wood Mah (Laurentian University, Sudbury), Patrick Lynn Rivers (School of the Art Institute of Chicago), Nicole Valois (Université de Montréal).

Special thanks to the residents of Outremont, Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension and Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie districts who offered one to two days of their time to be with us. Thanks also to the neighbours met during our vox pop and walks in the neighbourhoods surrounding the MIL Campus.

This project received financial support from SSHRC (Canada Council for Social Sciences and Humanities Research), CÉLAT (Centre de recherches Cultures – Arts – Sociétés), Outremont Site (Université de Montréal) Project Office, Culture Services of the City of Montreal, Faculty of Social Sciences of UQAM.

Licence Creative Commons
This project is made available under the terms of the Licence Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International..

CELATCanadaUdeMMontréalMédiation culturelleUQÀMExekoMise au jeu
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