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Worth Defending

Montreal’s (Extra) Ordinary Green Spaces

This project is supported by Sustainable Transitions Team Research Initiative grant from the Office of Research and by the Canada Summer Jobs program through a partnership with UrbaNature.

Urban residents often find value in the overgrown, seemingly neglected greenspaces that flourish in the city’s margins– along highways, in back alleys, and near heavy industry. These spaces can offer a sense of place and community, respite from the heat and bustle of the city, and even places of refuge for biodiversity. City officials and land developers see these places as ‘wastelands’ and are eager to transform them into condos, storage or other development projects that increase their financial value. In Montreal, dedicated groups of community residents and activists have fought against the development of many of these greenspaces, trying instead to preserve them as community-managed parks and commons– and in doing so, endorsing a different kind of value.

A team of interdisciplinary researchers (Amy Poteete, Emma Despland, Rebecca Tittler, Carly Ziter, and Elizabeth Miller) in collaboration with a range of community partners (UrbaNature) and urban residents are using citizen science, interdisciplinary research, art and education to redefine the “value” of four informal urban green spaces in Montreal: Falaise St. Jacques, Technoparc, Champ des Possibles, Boisé Vimont. How might we work together to enhance biodiversity, community, social inclusion, education and climate resilience in these wild spaces?  

WasteScapes was created by students and faculty at Concordia University in Tioh:tiáke/ Montréal with additional support from a Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council, Connection Grant