L'Îlot des murmures is a green space for citizens following a co-creation and collective development process initiated by Les Dents creuses on a vacant lot located on 4th Avenue, near Masson Street in Montreal.
Mission and purpose
Les Dents Creuses is an urban re-appropriation project initiated and coordinated by Lande and the Montreal Urban Ecology Center, with the support of the Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie borough and residents of the neighborhood. It allowed the expropriation of the owner of the vacant lot at the intersection of 4 e avenue and rue Masson in Montreal, as well as the purchase by the City of the green space now co-managed between the borough and the citizens of the district. According to the principles of participatory town planning and budgeting, the objectives of the project are as follows:
Reveal the potential of space
Engage citizens and the local community in the democratic appropriation of their living environment
Build local knowledge on this site, and document the appropriation procedures and the site management model
· Set up a process based on collective intelligence using a collaborative logic between citizens, local organizations, elected officials and professionals [i].
Origins and development
- Vacant land expropriated by the City in 2017
The land, located in the Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie borough in Montreal, has been left vacant for several decades. The space being used as a waste deposit, issues of sanitation and delinquency lead to the intervention of the borough, which wishes to buy back the fallow space to make a park [ii]. The land is evaluated at a cost of $ 141,300 by the City. In the absence of an agreement with the owner, the borough pleads for an expropriation by the City. The cost of the expropriation and the work required on the land is estimated at $ 400,000 [iii]. The City proceeded with the expropriation in 2017 and the land then returned to the borough.
- A co-design process in collaboration with community organizations and citizens (2017-2018)
The borough wishes to develop the wasteland in collaboration with the citizens of the district: the project constitutes the first citizen participation initiative piloted between the borough and the citizens. To do this, the borough is inspired by participatory budget experiences and mandates the community organization Lande as well as the Urban Ecology Center to jointly carry the initiative. The project takes the name of Hollow Dents and is based on an “iterative formula for transforming vacant land through temporary interventions” [iv]. The ideation and co-design of the site take place from June to September 2018 and residents of the neighborhood are invited to come up with ideas for transforming the space into a park, reflecting the neighborhood and its needs. About ten citizens took part in the entire process, from the ideation workshops to the final development, carried out following a vote by residents of the neighborhood. Three projects were submitted to the district's vote: an art and biodiversity trail, a ludic and green relaxation area and a meeting and gathering space. It is the proposal for the development of a ludic and green relaxation area that has attracted the greatest number of people in this family neighborhood. The development involves in this regard the construction of a vertical green wall, the presence of Adirondack chairs and hammock support and finally a space for free play. Voting could be done online on the Réalisons Montréal [v] page, in businesses adjacent to the future park or even in the project area during organized voting days. It is important to note that the vote was open to residents of the area aged 12 and over [vi].
- L'Îlot des murmures, the first project and model of citizen participation in co-management
Originally called Îlot de la 4 e , the green space transformed by citizens was inaugurated on September 15, 2018. It is now called the Îlot des murmures. There is a grassy area, a green wall, tubs of edible plantations and furniture to take a break and socialize [vii ] . The place is also intended to be a space animated by the residents of the district: surveys on the collective's Facebook page are launched to develop activities and events in response to the needs and desires of the inhabitants of the area. Among the activities offered are yoga classes, picnics, storytelling readings as well as workshops (fermentation, microgreens, etc.).
This project is the first participatory initiativeWe are a citizen piloted between the Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie borough and the citizens. The project will also benefit in 2019 from the support of the borough's “Citizen participatory projects” program. This program aims to facilitate the implementation of projects by citizens in their living environments. The borough's support then made it possible to improve the existing facilities and to make the park more green. The experience of the Îlot des murmures is also a model for citizen initiatives, as demonstrated in particular by its regular mention by groups of citizens mobilized in other spaces [viii ] , by its highlighting on the promotional video. of the Citizen Participatory Projects program [ix ] and by the awarding of a group volunteering prize in 2019 by the Montreal Urban Ecology Center as part of the Volunteer Recognition Gala in Montreal.
Organizational structure, membership and funding
- Organizational structure
The organizational structure is relatively flexible for this initiative. Its particularity is to be supervised and driven by the Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie borough and managed by two community organizations, Lande and the Montreal Urban Ecology Center. As such, the Îlot des murmures is the first citizen participation project co-managed by the borough and by citizens.
The Lande organizations and the Montreal Urban Ecology Center (CÉUM) play a facilitating role to allow citizens to develop their own projects [x]. Lande's mission is to facilitate the citizen reappropriation of vacant land in Montreal, by promoting innovative approaches to participatory democracy [xi] while the CÉUM helps to equip citizens and organizations to create a city on a human scale, generating solutions to act on current challenges [xii]. The project jointly developed between Lande and the CÉUM, Les dents creuses, aims to transform “vacant municipal land through an approach inspired by the participatory budget to generate and carry out citizen projects for the development of public space” [xiii ]. L'Îlot des murmures is the first co-creation initiative resulting from the Dents creuses project and supported by a Montreal borough. It was one of the first projects supported by the Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie Citizen Participatory Projects program, in order to reproduce this type of initiative in other sectors of the borough.
The support of the organizations Lande and CÉUM allows a flexible structure for the citizens invested in the Îlot des murmures. They can benefit from the benefits accorded to registered community nonprofits - such as receiving grants - through sponsorship from Lande and CÉUM, without having to set up their own organizational structure and meet the rigid frameworks required for them. NPO. A certain flexibility in the organizational structure was therefore demonstrated within the framework of the project. To cite an example, let us note the granting of a right to vote within the project to any citizen of the neighborhood aged 12 years and over [xiv].
L'Îlot des murmures is based on a flexible and relatively informal collective: the conditions for being part of it are not very restrictive. All you have to do is fill out a declaration of interest form available on Google Forms , or mention your participation to a manager in charge of an activity or even come to the scene for an event. The collective works around a hard core of ten people involved throughout the process of ideation and planning of the space. It also joins and mobilizes the community of neighborhood residents, called upon from time to time for chore-type activities or to vote for project ideas they want to see happen. To guarantee the involvement of neighborhood residents as a priority, mobilization is carried out according to residence criteria and through different communication vectors: local facebook groups, facebook page of the Îlot aux murmures, leaflets in shops, word of mouth as well as through the “bike with ideas” [xv], a mobile citizen participation kiosk initiated by the CÉUM to pedal directly to meet citizens.
Committees and sub-committees are set up to carry out the various projects and tasks of the collective, overseen by the citizens' committee bringing together the volunteersinvolved in the maintenance of the space and by the management committee. They meet monthly to ensure the maintenance and animation of the space. Their operation is based on democratic and non-hierarchical principles of self-management.
- Funding, donations and services
L'îlot des murmures benefits from several supports which have enabled the development of the project. Les Dents creuses was launched thanks to the support of Je fais Mtl and the Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie borough, which notably enabled the municipal redemption of the land from the owner. The project benefited from grants, notably from the City of Montreal, which supported the development of the project up to $ 20,000 in 2018, with the support of the local Desjardins caisse which also provided $ 2,000. These investments made it possible to animate the codesign process with citizens and to promote the final development by residents of the area. The City also provided furniture, including swings and Adirondack chairs to furnish the park. As part of the Citizen Participatory Projects program, the borough granted an additional $ 10,000 in support to the initiative in 2019, in order to improve the site's development.
The Îlot des murmures also benefits from a system of donations and services by the local community, mobilized around the project. The facebook group l'Îlot des murmures de la 4e thus identifies many offers of assistance and services from the citizens of the district, in the form of donations of seeds, materials, etc.
Specializations, methods and tools
- Participatory method: co-creation and co-management of the site
The Les Dents creuses project specializes in citizen co-creation approaches with the expertise of Lande community organizations and the Montreal Urban Ecology Center. The objective of the project is to support and equip communities to appropriate their living environment and co-create public space from vacant municipal spaces. The co-creation process proposed by Les Dents creuses is short and intense and is based on the principles of the participatory budget to engage the community and citizens in the democratic appropriation of public space. All the development phases of the greening project involve citizens, elected officials and local organizations in a collaborative logic.
L'îlot des murmures is the pilot project of the Les Dents creuses project. Here are the stages of the process and the various achievements made between May and September 2018:
- Call and ideation: what are the needs?
o Two needs identification kiosks.
o Ideation workshops bring together citizens mobilized during face-to-face meetings, in order to collectively define the basic values of the project and the common rules. An idea bike travels the neighborhood to meet citizens and collect their suggestions.
- Development of citizen proposals - craftsman workshop
o 3 collective project development workshops
- Face-to-face and online exhibition - voting
o 2 polling kiosks, 2 polling stations and one online vote (219 citizens votes)
- Design of the prioritized project
o 1 priority project design workshop
- Realization of projects
o 7 weeks of project implementation and an inaugural activity
More than 800 hours of volunteer work were carried out to bring about the Îlot des murmures park. The project brought together the local community, as demonstrated by the 219 citizens' votes to elect the development proposal to be prioritized [xvi], but also the presence of nearly 200 members on the Îlot des murmures Facebook group, and 180 members on the Facebook page. Based on the Citizen Participatory Projects approach, the borough's program supporting the project in 2019, the citizen collective relies on the mobilization of a given sector, defined as a place of life under the name of Masson Village. The initiative therefore aims to federate a community at the local level, which is also demonstrated by the limitation of votes to residents of the sector neighboring the future developed space.
A fois the landscaped park, it is now up to citizens to assume co-management with the borough of Montreal. Monthly meetings then bring together the committees to ensure the good democratic management of the space. The methods used throughout the project development process and for which the mobilized citizens were equipped by Hollow Dents have since been incorporated into the management of the site. We can thus mention the regular holding of brainstorms and online surveys to make democratic decisions on site development or animation.
- Scope of the project
The Hollow Dents project arose out of discussions held during workshops organized by Faire Montréal which aimed to support the realization of creative projects offering innovative tools to citizens to act and transform the city [xvii]. In this regard, Les Dents creuses offers "a democratic and participatory solution to the urban problem of vacant land", a key issue in Montreal [xviii]. It thus makes it possible to offer a management model for a participatory experience involving citizens in all stages of the development and management of the project. The objective of the Dents creuses is to apply this co-creation process in all Montreal boroughs.
Major projects and events
- Initiatives carried out:
o Chores: cleaning and maintenance of the space, plantations, construction of furniture
o Festive events: Picnics, sugar shack, children's play activities
o Workshops and courses: micro shoot, yoga, fermentation
- Supported initiatives: citizen and activist mobilization
o Support for the local community: competitions organized with local businesses
o Militant activities related to the environment and climate change: procession during demonstrations for the climate, signing of petitions, declaration of climate emergency
CÉUM, “Hollow teeth, a vacant space transformed by a co-creation approach inspired by the participatory budget”, 2018. https://cdn.ca.yapla.com/company/CPYO9qxj5LhP6vbo8lrLkiEO/asset/files/FPRO_LDC-Rosemont_20181125.pdf
Lande & Solon, “Eco-citizen action laboratory”. June 2019, p.8. https://landemtl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Lande_Solon_Labo_VF.pdf
Lande, “Hollow teeth, participatory urban planning and budget”, consulted on 04 May 2020 at: https://landemtl.com/portfolio/les-dents-creuses-urbanisme-et-budget-participatifs/
See as well
[i] Lande, “Hollow teeth, participatory urban planning and budget”, consulted on 04 May 2020 at: https://landemtl.com/portfolio/les-dents-creuses-urbanisme-et-budget-participatifs/
[ii] Lande & Solon, “Eco-citizen action laboratory”. June 2019, p.8. https://landemtl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Lande_Solon_Labo_VF.pdf
[iii] Emmanuel Delacour, “The expropriation used to create a green space”, Metro , January 18, 2017, https://journalmetro.com/actualites-rosemont-la-petite-patrie/1078111/lexpropriation-utile-pour- create-a-green-space /
[iv] Lande, “Hollow teeth, participatory urban planning and budget”, consulted on 04 May 2020 at: https://landemtl.com/portfolio/les-dents-creuses-urbanisme-et-budget-participatifs /
[v] https://www.realisonsmtl.ca/ . This platform brings together the public participation activities of the City of Montreal and allows citizens to give their opinion on the initiatives under development.
[vi] Gabriel Larue, “L'îlot de la 4 e , a space to be created together”, Facebook Group L'îlot de la 4 e avenue / îlot des murmures, July 6, 2018. https://www.facebook.com /photo.php?fbid=10155758892653786&set=g.586892045016906&type=1&theater&ifg=1
[vii] Ville de Montréal, “L'îlot de la 4 e , un espace à Création Ensemble”, Rosemont La-Petite-Patrie, accessed May 05, 2020 at: http://ville.montreal.qc.ca/portal / page? _pageid = 7357,143020944 & _dad = portal & _schema = PORTAL
[viii] Emmanuel Delacour, “Residents want to keep a green space” , Metro , February 15, 2019. https://journalmetro.com/local/villeray-st-michel-parc-extension/2153931/des-residents-vénement- keep-a-green-space /
Emmanuel Delacour, “A revitalization awaited for more than six years remains 'on the ice'”, Metro , April 19, 2019.
Emmanuel Delacour, “Citizens shocked by the destruction of a green space”, Metro , October 8, 2019.
[ix] Arrondissement de Rosemont - La-Petite-Patrie, “Launch of the Citizen participatory projects program”, Facebook, December 16, 2019. https://www.facebook.com/arrondissementRPP/videos/590774788339666/
[x] Mikael Colville-Andersen, “Ep. 6: Montreal. The Life-Sized City ”, TVO 50 - documentaries, July 8, 2019. https://www.tvo.org/video/documentaries/ep-6-montreal?fbclid=IwAR11mf8TMf_OM6mfIvHijKeqMRB6X9x3MrZ-T1C6ES6Vb1LGhoIRoVM2awE
[xi] Lande, “About”, accessed May 05, 2020 at: https://landemtl.com/a-propos-lande/
[xii] Center for Urban Ecology, “Mission, vision, values”, accessed May 05, 2020 at: https://www.ecologieurbaine.net/fr/mission-valeurs-vision
[xiii] Je faire MTL, “Les dents creuses”, Faire Montréal , May 16, 2018. https://fairemtl.ca/fr/dents-creuses
[xiv] Gabriel Larue, “L'îlot de la 4 e , a space to be created together”, Facebook Group L'îlot de la 4 e avenue / îlot des murmures, July 6, 2018. https://www.facebook.com /photo.php?fbid=10155758892653786&set=g.586892045016906&type=1&theater&ifg=1
[xv] CÉUM, “La Bécane à ideas. A mobile consultation kiosk to pedal to meet citizens ”, accessed May 06, 2020 at: https://cdn.ca.yapla.com/company/CPYO9qxj5LhP6vbo8lrLkiEO/asset/files/FPRO_Becane_20190403.pdf
[xvi] CÉUM, “Hollow teeth, a vacant space transformed by a co-creation approach inspired by the participatory budget”, 2018. https://cdn.ca.yapla.com/company/CPYO9qxj5LhP6vbo8lrLkiEO/asset / files / FPRO_LDC-Rosemont_20181125.pdf
[xvii] Je faire MTL, “About”, Faire Montréal, accessed May 06, 2020 at: https://fairemtl.ca/fr/a-propos
[xviii] Je faire MTL, “Les dents creuses”, Faire Montréal , May 16, 2018. https://fairemtl.ca/fr/dents-creuses