Imagining urban schools


The Commission scolaire de Montréal (CSDM) is proud to collaborate on the project L’école et la ville, led by the School of Urban Planning and Landscape Architecture at the University of Montreal. This initiative is consistent with the University’s UNESCO Chair in Urban Landscape’s mission.

This winter, professors/teachers Philippe Poullaouec-Gonidec and Patrick Marmen led a Masters level interdisciplinary workshop at the Faculty of Environmental Design which aimed to produce strategic urban landscape visions for schools and their urban context.

Three schools from the CSDM, including l’école secondaire Louis-Joseph-Papineau, le projet de construction de l’école Irénée-Lussier, and l’école primaire Les-Enfants-du-Monde, were selected in order to develop their site its urban integration. 

“Thanks to this collaboration, university students look to our schools’ living environments in order to reflect on their future, shining a new light on their integration within their urban environments” mentions Catherine Harel Bourdon, President of the CSDM.

For instance, the workshop will explore issues tied to the spaces’ educational dimension, designing living environments that are stimulating, and safety when crossing school boundaries. These issues will be examined in relation to the values and needs expressed by the school’s key players. In addition, this innovative initiative creates an opportunity for an open and inclusive dialogue with local communities and municipal boroughs to discover joint perspectives on urban design that contribute to the quality of Montreal’s urban landscape.

This approach is directly in line with the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which, among other objectives, favours integrated planning of human settlements by reducing environmental, public health, and urban well-being impacts, highlights Philippe Poullaouec-Gonidec, Director of the UNESCO Chair (CUPUM).

At the end of this workshop, the Master’s students will have produced three strategic visions for each school. The nine urban landscape propositions will be the subject of a public exhibition at the CSDM.

With its 191 establishments and close to 17 000 employees, the CSDM is the largest public school network in Quebec. Among other responsibilities, it organizes educational services for 113 000 students, manages human, financial, and supply resources, and it coordinates school transportation, after-school daycare, and relations with the community.