Join us on your lunch break at Virtual 4TH SPACE over six days in July to hear from Concordia students and professors as they discuss their research on sustainability in general and the climate emergency in particular.
Originally scheduled as part of the now postponed cross-disciplinary conference Sustainability and the Climate Crisis, each of these six talks will highlight the varied research Concordians are currently undertaking to tackle the unfolding environmental emergency.
Privately Owned Public Space (POPS) is generally defined as the private provision of public spaces –parks, atriums, arcades, plazas –which emerge out of negotiations between a City and developer, and usually involves a profitable trade-off. In Montreal, negotiations like these usually manifest themselves when a private party seeks approval to deviate from the City’s master zoning plan, e.g. higher density, which then allows the City to review in greater depth the project and make special requests or suggestions before approval. A mechanism initially proposed in New York in the 1960s, incentive zoning was the response to a need for more public spaces in the dense urban centre; POPS policies have grown to be a highly valued mechanism that incentivizes developers to provide public amenities within their privately owned and operated development. There is concern however as to whether the private provision of public goods allows for sustained generalized access and/or public benefit. Yet, little has been examined to date with respect to this issue in Montreal.
Thus, this study has the aim to better understand whether or not incentive zoning can lead to the provision of quality public amenities in Montreal. The first objective was to analyse the evolution of the legislation governing urban development to identify key mechanisms that allow these negotiations to occur in the first place. Then I looked at specific sites that could be classified as POPS in Montreal; the development agreements for these sites were examined and, where appropriate, I conducted site observations. Lastly, I interviewed key informants to better understand the process during these negotiations. Through this triangulation of methods I illustrate that in Montreal, although city officials have negotiated with private entities for many decades, the City falls short of capitalizing on the potential to require the private sector to provide more public amenities, such as green spaces that could aid in reducing negative environmental consequences of high density urban centres. The scattered nature of Montreal’s legal mechanisms is a primary cause of this loss of potential, as well as causing increased concern about whether equitable access to these spaces can be sustained over time or not. This study attempts to open a discussion on POPS in Montreal and to call for a deeper understanding in order to establish a proper guide for quality POPS in the Montreal context towards a more socially and environmentally sustainable urban future.
Zeynab Yousefzadeh: Using life cycle assessment to identify opportunities for improving the environmental performance in emerging technologies: The case of thermal sprayed coating system for water distribution pipes freeze protection.