Sustainable Cities™

Cultural Sustainability: Montreal’s Tradition

Culture can be defined as an acquired behavior from group experiences or social influences. It refers to how we comprehend one another along with the available resources in our environment. When discussing sustainable development culture is often overlooked by economic policies or technology. However, some cities are making culture a priority along with the increasing ecological, economic and social challenges to meet the goals of sustainability.

QDS

Culture can be defined as an acquired behavior from group experiences or social influences. It refers to how we comprehend one another along with the available resources in our environment. When discussing sustainable development culture is often overlooked by economic policies or technology. However, some cities are making culture a priority along with the increasing ecological, economic and social challenges to meet the goals of sustainability.

In Montreal, the ongoing renewal of culture takes place in the Quartier des Spectacles (QDS), a century old district for arts and entertainment. Today the district is a center for economic and urban development, helping Montreal become a leading cultural metropolis. The QDS neighborhood is a cross-pollination of artistic diversity amongst 80 venues, 40 festivals and seven public spaces.

Place des Arts

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(Image credit: Marc Cramer)

Extensive redevelopment in QDS has been centered on new, or invigorated public spaces, with the plazas around Place des Arts being the anchor. Place des Arts is a major performing arts center that is home to Montreal's opera house and classical orchestra. In late 2012 the final phase was completed and included the public opening of two open air theatres, Quartie plaza and l'Adresse plaza, in conjunction with two green spaces, Clark Esplanade and Promenade of Festivals. Daoust Lestage, the principal design firm, held place making as the key priority in the design process, and was especially inspired to bring the culture of the building out into the surrounding urban landscape. Throughout these 4 spaces, the theme of open access to culture is assembled in carefully crafted layers of landscaping, surfaces, lighting and urban furniture to create a coherent and social environment.

Within the Place des Arts are 235 fountains illuminated in red and white LED lights and transparent structures dedicated to casual restaurants. Keeping the squares accessible and animated throughout the entire year is an important approach in regards to bringing culture into public spaces. Technical aspects required the reconfiguration of road traffic and precise calculation of terrain grading slops to ensure optimum drainage. Conversely these components are interrelated to the cultural aspect, and help to create a more accessible and open space for outdoor events.

plan view

Mission Design Initiative

Mission Design is an agency of Québec promoting local design initiatives. One of Mission Design's main projects is Facteur D, an awards event that focuses on showing companies and public organizations the economic and social benefits of investing in quality architecture, design and planning. The aim is to celebrate the social value of projects and how that influences economics, technical aspects, and aesthetics. The QDS district and open air theaters surround Place des artes won the planning/ urban design award in 2012. Facteur D emphasizes culture, or rather how the collaboration between business and design environments can make for sustainable progress at the benefit of a cities' culture. 

Read More:

Mount Royal, Montrea - An Indispensable Green Public Space or a Hole in the Metropolis?

Montreal: Creating Sustainable Urban Communities

 


Friday, May 10, 2013 / By George Peter Surovov

Last updated Monday, April 07, 2014

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