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Balancing Growth and Conservation: Smart Growth in Great...

Balancing Growth and Conservation: Smart Growth in Greater Montreal, Canada

In the past decade or two, similar to other North American metropolitan areas, Greater Montreal (with a population of 3.7 million and an area of 4360 km² – or 1683 mi²) has grown outward in area, beyond Montreal Island (the core), creating residential and commercial sprawl in the process.  Due to this growth, natural and

by Yosef Robinson February 27, 2012 One comment

natural areas of Greater MontrealIn the past decade or two, similar to other North American metropolitan areas, Greater Montreal (with a population of 3.7 million and an area of 4360 km² – or 1683 mi²) has grown outward in area, beyond Montreal Island (the core), creating residential and commercial sprawl in the process.  Due to this growth, natural and agricultural areas on the outskirts of Montreal have been under threat. By 2031, another 530,000 people are forecast by the “Institut de la statistique du Québec” to be added to Greater Montreal’s population, and there would be 150,000 more jobs created in Greater Montreal by then.

In order to balance this growth with conservation of the natural and agricultural areas, the Montreal Metropolitan Community (known by its French acronym, CMM) formulated a plan in 2011 for smart growth in the Montreal region. Known as the Metropolitan Land Use and Development Plan (or PMAD – its French acronym), its goals are to improve the quality of life for residents, make the area more sustainable, and to increase Greater Montreal’s attractiveness and competitiveness.  Also, scarce public funds would not have to be spent on more unnecessary infrastructure and services that accompany sprawl.

The PMAD plan has three major priorities:

●     Land use – build 40% of the neighbourhoods within one kilometre (0.6 miles) of a public transit station for more ready access to transit in order to reduce automobile use and boost walkability and sustainability (transit-oriented developments, or TODs, for example), as well as to accommodate future growth within a metropolitan boundary (e.g. set minimal density thresholds for residential neighbourhoods outside TODs, and consolidate economic hubs);

●     Public transit – expand and strengthen the metro (subway) and commuter-rail networks along with installing bus rapid transit lines in order to build a metropolitan-wide transit network, as well as to ensure more efficiency in transporting people and goods;

●     Identifying, protecting, and enhancing Greater Montreal’s natural and cultural assets, such as woodlands, rivers, wetlands, landscapes, and the built heritage – and make them more accessible for recreation and tourism.

What is the best way to manage growth in Greater Montreal for 2031?

Credits: Image and data linked to sources.

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Yosef Robinson, born and raised in Montreal, holds a B.A. in Geography with a Minor in Urban Studies from Rutgers University, as well as a Master’s in City and Regional Planning from the Ohio State University. At present, he has finished studying fo...

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