Lightweight interventions to encourage life on Montreal mainstreets

McGill’s community/university alliance yielded many fine research outputs, to be sure, but this one really caught my attention. Master’s student Michael Giulioni proposes a methodology for testing the planning maxim:  “people sit where there are places to sit“.

First, he analyses the streetscape and shows up the holes and breaks that detract from a quality experience, for the pedestrian. The case study is Upper Lachine Road in little Little Italy, just West of the McGill mega-hospital.

Then, he proposes light infill projects to fill in or temporarily repair these gaps and holes, presumably spring/summer/autumn. Perhaps a little fruits and vegetables market? An open-air café extension to a restaurant or bar? Also, here and there, some wooden seats and planters, street furniture. Nothing permanent. Perhaps 100,000$ in public investment.

Finally, we evaluate these interventions. Do people stop more? Does street life improve? Assumption: we have measured the “before state”. That just makes sense, no?

If it has made measurable improvements, we move to the next phase. Perhaps some more permanent changes. Here is a link to the more detailed report.

Montreal has been using this strategy, here and there, over the past few years, on some main streets. Can you think of any?


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