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Citizen participation that goes further than social acceptance

Citizen participation © Photo : Percolab
Citizen participation that goes further than social acceptance

In addition to the Université de Montréal Biodiversity Centre and the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, The Montréal Space for Life will be undertaking three more major projects as a legacy to the City of Montréal to mark its 375th birthday in 2017. These projects, worth a total of $45 M, will help position Montréal as the flag-bearer of a vast global movement in support of biodiversity, aiming to invent new ways of life and to bring people and nature closer together.

  • The Insectarium’s Metamorphosis project will consist of expanding and redeveloping the existing building and some outdoor spaces. Inspired by nature according to the principles of biophilia, its architecture will encourage sensory experiences and unique encounters in order to reanimatethe relationship between humans and insects.
  • The Renewed Biodôme project is intended to redevelop certain exhibition spaces, including the ecosystems within the Biodôme. Its purpose is to rethink our relationship with nature through a more immersive, introspective and moving visitor experience so as to prompt behavioural changes that are respectful of the environment.
  • The Botanical Garden’s Glass Pavilion project will offer a bold, innovative and organic architecture that meets biophilic design principles, prioritizing natural light, visual accesses, sensory connections to nature, and natural shapes and materials that imitate nature. With a versatile, technologically performing and adjustable space, the Glass Pavilion will host eco-friendly horticultural and corporate events.

Citizen participation in the Montréal Space for Life story

The Montréal Space for Life is not only a place, it is also a movement and a commitment. This principle gave birth to a project that is participatory, formative, authentic, inventive, ambitious and transparent, including a phase of citizen participation and co-creation with visitors. In 2012, the Montréal Space for Life initiated a process of participation centred on workshops with employees of its four attractions, plus citizens, community organizations and Montréal institutions. These gatherings led to the development of the Montréal Space for Life charter of citizen participation. The Insectarium’s Metamorphosis project has already been the subject of a “living lab”—a co-creative workshop involving employees and international experts in a wide range of fields (entomologists, designers, artists, architects, engineers, etc.). Citizen participation will also be a part of these three key projects and make it possible to apply the community’s vision beyond mere social acceptance. The Montréal Space for Life is planning workshops with citizens in order to discuss ideas to complete the three projects while co-creating a legacy for the 375th birthday. These citizen workshops will precede an international architecture competition seeking to provide a unified vision of these three key projects; this will be launched in February 2014. Participants will also be invited to public hearings on the finalist projects, witnessing the decision-making process of a panel in choosing a winner for the architecture competition. This is a concrete application of the Montréal Space for Life charter of citizen participation. Take part in the citizen workshops by filling out the online form.

What happens after consultation?

Citizens’ involvement will not be limited to one or two meetings without follow-up. The Montréal Space for Life would like to develop ongoing communication channels—for example, a forum to be added to existing tools, such as its Facebook page or its Twitter account.

A social legacy

Beyond infrastructures, the Montréal Space for Life wishes to develop an exemplary approach with regard to stakeholder relations and citizen co-creation, to be passed on to future generations. If you would like to take part in any of these three key projects, or get involved in or simply stay up to date on the Montréal Space for Life’s upcoming projects, we invite you to fill out our online form.

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