Montreal’s road-work charter: a small step for citizens, a giant leap for Montreal

On 11th May the City of Montreal announced its (very welcome) road-work charter. For a moment I had a dream. The dream of coordination I dreamt that road works would now be coordinated, along the lines outlined for New York. I dreamt that all City departments (transport, infrastructure, parks, water, waste management…) would enter theirContinue reading “Montreal’s road-work charter: a small step for citizens, a giant leap for Montreal”

How to further segregate cities: work-from-home and 15-minutes

Allow me a brief thought-experiment. Let us imagine, for a moment, that the dream of many office workers is realised: henceforth they permanently work-from-home, saving on commute time and costs. No more pesky interruptions, no more tiresome colleagues, no more central business district, no more office buildings! Let us further imagine that their lives areContinue reading “How to further segregate cities: work-from-home and 15-minutes”

Is urban planning reverting to modernism?

Those of you with the leisure and patience to read some of my blogs may have noted a recurring structure to their argument. I briefly describe a popular idea or position (e.g. 15-minute cities, cycling, electric-cars, heritage protection…); I then acknowledge the benefits of the idea but discuss some complicating factors. My point of contentionContinue reading “Is urban planning reverting to modernism?”

Electric cars and urban transport: a sustainability fix?

There is little doubt that an electric car emits less CO2 than a conventional car when it runs (assuming its electricity source is fairly clean). There is also little doubt that over its life cycle an electric car will emit less CO2 than a conventional car (but this is not completely clear-cut). For these reasons,Continue reading “Electric cars and urban transport: a sustainability fix?”

Parking in Montreal: smart cities in practice

I rarely drive in Montreal: but the other day I needed to pick up an item at the office, and drove downtown. I parked in a metered space, and thought I’d get the parking app. I assumed that this app would do three things: record the ID number of the parking space (which I canContinue reading “Parking in Montreal: smart cities in practice”

Heritage buildings – a little movement in Québec?

When I arrived in Montreal in the mid 1990s I was taken aback by the haphazard way heritage buildings were protected. Not that I have any particular interest in heritage buildings, but I regularly went by the Sainte-.Justine hospital. In their car park was an old building: the Mount Royal Hunt Lodge. By the timeContinue reading “Heritage buildings – a little movement in Québec?”

Montreal isn’t Copenhagen: an illustrated bike story

Dorothy, in the Wizard of Oz, remarks that she isn’t in Kansas. As I cycle around Montreal, thinking urban(e?) thoughts on this beautiful spring day, I realise I’m not in Copenhagen. Neither am I in Rimouski, Oslo, Norwich, Toluca or St-Rémy-de-Provence… so why am I specifically not in Copenhagen? This city is often put forwardContinue reading “Montreal isn’t Copenhagen: an illustrated bike story”

Enterprise management: the new Taylorism

I am currently reading a very interesting little book called ‘Breaking Things at Work‘ by Gavin Mueller1. I am also trying to make sense of the Workday (human resource) computer system which has engulfed almost everyone at McGill to some extent. Workday is a fairly standard – if clunky and ill-adapted to universities – exampleContinue reading “Enterprise management: the new Taylorism”

Post-COVID city-centres: who should benefit from businesses re-opening – landlords or the businesses themselves?

An issue that has gained momentum over recent years in Montreal is skyrocketing rents for commercial premises, especially in lively neighbourhoods and in downtown. Rent hikes have been driving many well-established stores out of business. A well publicised example occured in early March 2021 when the bookshop S.W.Welch (which features in the film My SalingerContinue reading “Post-COVID city-centres: who should benefit from businesses re-opening – landlords or the businesses themselves?”

The 15 min non-city – a theoretical follow-up

I have enjoyed reading the comments about the 15 minute city. They raise interesting points, and it is worth – briefly – going into a bit of theory. Almost a century ago a geographer called Christaller noted some regularities in the way retail activity and services deployed across cities and regions1. Assuming an even densityContinue reading “The 15 min non-city – a theoretical follow-up”