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AUGUST 2021: Planning and development orientations


Concordia's Campus Master Plan is intended as a decision-making tool for planning the real estate development of the Loyola and Sir George Williams campuses over a 15-year time frame.

The university anticipates a space deficit of 115,000 square metres within 10 years.1 Meeting this demand will involve large-scale development projects on both campuses, addressing various urban, planning and regulatory contexts with unique challenges.

The overall vision reflects a sensitive planning approach to campus heritage and identity and to Concordia’s educational legacy. The plan must take a historical perspective in the development of the campuses and the surrounding urban environments in which they take shape.

1. Estimation based on forecasts of additional student enrolment (500 FTES/year) and calculated according to the current MES admissible space standard


In summary, the objectives of the plan are as follows:

  • Healthy growth of Concordia and its capacity from now through 2030 to 2035;
  • Updates to the physical space management program in response to the changing nature of teaching and research;
  • Respect for the distinctive values and elements of large institutional properties;
  • Redevelopment of the Loyola Campus and its co-existence with the residential environment;
  • Optimization of the Sir George Williams Campus building environment in the Concordia district;
  • Endorsement of the Campus Master Plan by the university, residents and Montreal communities.

Working approach

The recommended approach for implementing the Campus Master Plan is part of a strategic, concerted and integrated process with the City of Montreal’s regulatory and planning mechanisms.

Close collaboration with the city was established at the outset of the project to align Concordia’s strategy and policies with those of Montreal regarding development projects, planning initiatives and regulations. In addition, a consultation and communication process will support the Campus Master Plan at every stage to ensure a collective vision consistent with the ambitions of the Concordia community is formulated.

The plan's development process has four main phases, the second of which has just been completed:

Phase 1: Portrait of the campuses today

(August 2020 to March 2021)

  • This step aimed to establish a clear diagnosis of the current environment of the university's two campuses.
  • A number of consultation activities were organized with borough representatives and City of Montreal departments to confirm the results of the profile and to inform them about the process.
  • Internal Concordia partners, including professors, students, representatives of strategic initiatives and faculties and administrative staff were involved in an Integrated Design Process (IDP).

Phase 2: Planning and development orientations

(March to August 2021)

  • This phase establishes planning and development guidelines for the university’s two campuses and, as such, determines the development plan.
  • This step involves a consultation period to generate collective ideas and set up a common vision statement. For this purpose, a web site and a public consultation platform have been launched.

Phase 3: Campus development scenarios

(August to October 2021)

  • Three development scenarios will be presented for each campus to investigate different development options. One preferred scenario will be chosen at the end of this phase.
  • This step will involve IDP workshops with internal and external experts to discuss the three potential scenarios.

Phase 4: Final Campus Master Plan

(October 2021 to September 2022)

  • This phase will focus on drafting the final Campus Master Plan. This step will allow the necessary procedures to be undertaken to modify urban planning regulations that apply to both campuses.
  • Ad hoc meetings with assessment bodies such as the Comité Consultatif d'Urbanisme and the Comité Jacques-Viger, as well as feedback from project partners, will be required to announce the final version of the plan.

Activities completed to date

The approach calls for constant and productive collaboration between both internal and external partners affected by the project and draws on best consulting practices to promote social acceptability by the partners and their endorsement of the plan.

  • Workshop sessions with experts from the City of Montreal and its services and boroughs.
  • Meeting with the City of Montreal Steering Committee.
  • IDP2.1 Virtual workshop sessions with partners from the Concordia community.
  • IDP.2 Multidisciplinary workshop session with representatives of the City of Montreal, its two boroughs, Concordia and the design team.
  • Participation in a citizen engagement web platform, as well as through Concordia's public website.
  • Meetings with campus neighbours.

2. IDP: Integrated Design Process


With a consistent focus on progress, research and excellence, Concordia has established nine strategic directions that define its vision of the future.

These directions provide sound guidance for Concordia’s development. They relate to all of the university's different, and their implementation unfolds at many different levels.

These directions represent and guide fundamental issues in the overall development of the institution. Through its physical and spatial approach, the master plan will respond to these issues. As such, they constitute the prism through which the vision, guiding principles and filters presented in this report have been addressed and developed.

The vision of the master plan

To create places of learning, research and community in an inclusive, shared and dynamic environment that meets the needs of members, through a lasting focus on the Indigenization, heritage, community engagement and innovation.

To provide a concrete spatial vision of Concordia’s next-generation university, five guiding principles in the language of urban design and five filters representing major issues have been identified as the fundamental components that form the basis of the master plan.

Guiding principles

  • Dialogue with the city
  • Mobility
  • Institutional development
  • Teaching and research experience
  • Campus life

The guiding principles establish objectives that justify actions and determine their scope. Each guiding principle is comprised of multiple issues, with intentions that can be spatialized through efforts in multiple areas.

The actions taken in the context of the master plan must be able to respond to the issues covered by one or more guiding principles.


  • Indigenization
  • Sustainability
  • Inclusivity
  • Health and well-being
  • Identity

These filters are fundamental considerations that will need to be applied to all of the different themes in the development plan for each campus. These considerations thus act as essential filters to guarantee the quality and precision of the actions proposed to achieve the objectives that the institution has set for itself.

Development plans

The development plans respond to the different issues that emerge from the strategic orientations, the vision of the Concordia Campus Master Plan and the guiding principles. They also spatialize the potential responses to issues raised in the profile and IDP workshops.

The development plan for each campus is designed around six themes:

  • Understanding and defining campus identities and their physical context.
  • Strengthening of the campuses’ institutional presence.
  • Leveraging and improving green and outdoor spaces.
  • Improving spaces that support student life.
  • Promoting the pedestrian experience and sustainable mobility.
  • Decolonization and Indigenization.

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