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Sustainable Development

Sustainable development meets present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own. It is a balanced approach that incorporates environmental, social and economic dimensions. It aims for ecological integrity and economic efficiency as well as social equity among nations, individuals and generations.

  • Maintaining ecological integrity requires that development respects the renewal or depletion rate of natural resources and minimizes the impact of human activities on the environment.
  • An efficient economy optimizes human, natural and financial resources. It presupposes that economic actors assume responsibility for the impacts of their activities on the environment, society and resources.
  • Socially equitable development means that existing human communities as well as future generations can meet their basic needs, have access to employment and social, health and educational services and can participate in decisions that affect them.

These principles are of concern to local communities, particularly in promoting a viable model for human settlements. The City has elaborated this vision in its Plan stratégique de développement durable (Sustainable Development Strategic Plan).

The Master Plan is a powerful instrument for shifting the City to sustainable development practices that will provide a better “quality of city” for both residents and visitors. A sustainable urban environment will be more compact, less dependent on individual automobiles and organized in such a way as to promote public transportation and non-motorized travel. It will offer diverse activities and services, close to residential areas composed of a range of housing types. It will provide easy access to green spaces and waterways, as well as public spaces that are safe, comfortable and enjoyable.

The quality of existing assets and their preservation must first be recognized. Most of Montréal’s territory is composed of established areas. The Ville de Montréal intends to consolidate both the current activities and the built form of these areas (see Map 1.1).

However, major planning and consolidation challenges must be met. Of the City’s total area of 500 km2, 26 km2 are still vacant. Some 11 km2 are scattered through the established areas. The remaining vacant areas to be developed for housing or employment purposes cover another 11 km2. Montréal’s territory also includes many areas to be transformed that are currently underused and whose activities and built form will be changed radically over the long term. This transformation will also permit the development of the remaining 4 km2 of vacant land that falls within these areas.

This effort seeks to promote renewal and new construction within the City limits.

  • Respecting the spirit of the Kyoto Protocol, Montréal’s urban development will aim to increase the use of public transportation and active modes of transport such as walking and cycling. The intention is to consolidate and increase urban density, particularly within walking distance of metro and commuter train stations, while fully respecting the characteristics of existing neighbourhoods.
  • The Plan also promotes a greater variety of uses in some areas of the City in order to reduce distances between residences, shops, services and workplaces, again while respecting the characteristics of each area. This will help make these areas more dynamic and increase local residents’ sense of belonging.
  • Special attention will be required to optimize the development of Montréal’s Centre. This area is the most easily accessible by public transportation and is already diversified and densely occupied. Nevertheless, it still has considerable development potential, particularly its 60-odd hectares of vacant lots and numerous buildings that could be given over to new functions.
  • Montréal’s residential living environments generally exhibit an undeniable quality and diversity. The Plan proposes to enhance their special characteristics while planning for specific interventions where required.
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