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Montreal 2050: Envisioning urban development

Considering future generations and intergenerational justice

Map of urban spral in Montreal showing low sprawl in the center of the island and high sprawl outside this area. Urban sprawl in Montreal, 2011. Data from Nazarnia et al. (2016); map produced by Mirya Reid.



  • The issue of urban development transcends both disciplinary and generational boundaries and is increasingly urgent due to climate change and the links between urban development and skyrocketing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation.
  • Transportation emissions in Canada grew by 42% between 1990 and 2016, while emissions from many other activities declined[i].
  • This project addressed the issue of urban development in Montreal through a trans-disciplinary approach
  • The overall goal of this project is to propose workable, sustainable urban futures that will minimize the negative effects of urban growth on quality of life and the natural world for current and future generations.
  • As part of the project, the team will be collaborating with community members to develop a set of possible scenarios for the future development of the Montreal Metropolitan Area, involving multiple generations and people speaking on behalf of future generations
  • The project will explicitly address the issue of intergenerational justice while instigating and facilitating a public conversation on urban development and empowering youth to effect change in the world they are destined to inherit.


As part of this project, we conducted a survey of Concordia students and their attitudes towards sprawl. The survey results are now availabe for visualization through this interactive web map!

Interactive WebMap of Urban Sprawl in the Montreal Census Metropolitan Area

Urban sprawl has many negative environmental effects, for example, loss of agricultural land and natural open spaces. It also contributes to climate change and has harmful effects on public health. Nonetheless, it has increased 26-fold in Montreal over the past four decades. A stated-preference survey conducted in 2020 revealed that as many as 30% of sampled Concordia students had never heard of urban sprawl. To address this knowledge gap, this interactive web-map of urban sprawl in Montreal is designed to broaden public understanding of urban development in Montreal and foster discussions of the sustainability implications of residential choices. Developed by undergraduate student Mirya Reid in 2021 and funded by the Sustainability Action Fund, this free student-led tool is available here!   

In review

  • Reid, M., Fritsch, M., Tittler, R., Townsend, C., Bukowski, W., Persram, R., Jaeger, J.A.G. (subm.): Sharing cities with the future: How concerned are Montrealers today about the implications of their residential choices for future generations? Submitted to Cities.



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