Results of the Ecocity World Summit Montréal 2011 – Six Conditions for Making Montréal an Ecocity


Results of the Ecocity World Summit Montréal 2011 – Six Conditions for Making Montréal an Ecocity

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Posted 26 August 2011, by Staff, CNW Group, newswire.ca

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MONTREAL, Aug. 26, 2011 /CNW Telbec/ – At the closing ceremony of the ninth Ecocity World Summit, held for the first time in Canada and organized by the Montréal Urban Ecology Centre (MUEC), Jayne Engle-Warnick, vice-president of the MUEC, said: “The Ecocity Summit brought together 1,500 delegates from 280 cities and 70 countries. Based on what we heard from experts during the conference, cities in Canada and all over the world are facing enormous challenges with limited resources. But we also heard that cities are the key to solving global issues such as climate change, the fight against poverty, and social exclusion.”

Luc Rabouin, executive director of the MUEC, added: “During the Ecocity Summit, we learned about hundreds of inspiring solutions and ideas from all over the world, including Quebec and Montréal. Montréal has inspiration to offer for other cities, especially with its Charter of Rights and Responsibilities, public consultation practices, and numerous initiatives led by different civil society organizations in different neighbourhoods. But we have a lot to do before we catch up to the most advanced cities in the world. We need to refuse absurd and incomprehensible projects like the Turcot interchange. We have some interesting plans, but it is time to put them into action.”

Six Future Challenges
Before becoming an ecocity, Montréal and its greater metropolitan area will meet many challenges: ending urban sprawl and increasing density in existing urban areas, investing more in public transportation, bike and pedestrian infrastructure, and greening, and creating more space for citizens in decision-making processes.

Revising the Act Respecting Land Use Planning and Urban Development, currently underway at the National Assembly of Quebec, and developing a new Metropolitan Land Use Planning and Development Plan, an initiative taken on by the Montréal Metropolitan Community, are two excellent opportunities for ending urban sprawl and increasing the density of existing areas around efficient public transportation hubs.

Investing in Public Transportation
To overcome the current transportation crisis in Quebec, the Government of Quebec will need to immediately invest great sums of money in permanent highly efficient public transportation infrastructures and services.

Densification and Greening
Dense urban areas concentrate local services and reduce travel distances. To prevent urban heat islands and create quality public spaces, densification also needs to include greening measures and urban agriculture, both of which are often low-cost, high-impact solutions.

Favour Active Transportation
The Montréal Transportation Plan, adopted in 2008, stresses the importance of “restoring the appropriate quality of life to Montréal’s residential neighbourhoods” and promises the creation of green neighbourhoods to favour walking and biking. Eventually, the City of Montréal will have to support the implementation of a network of interconnected green neighbourhoods. “Here, it’s also time to move from planning to action,” says Luc Rabouin, executive director of the Montréal Urban Ecology Centre.

Citizen Participation
The Montréal Development Plan and the revision of the Master Plan are ideal opportunities to involve the city’s entire community, especially citizens, in developing a major collective project for Montréal.

Taxation and Good Governance
Despite the clear intentions of certain cities in Quebec, such as Montréal, one thing is clear: cities are part of the solution, but they have very few resources and little power to realize their ambitions. The true fiscal imbalance in Canada is the disadvantage cities have in relation to other levels of government. Cities should have access to a bigger part of the tax base.

Cities also need to change their methods of governance to re-establish a transparent relationship with citizens and ensure optimal use of limited public resources. Montréal needs to join the movement of more than 1,400 cities around the world, of which more than 300 are in Europe (Paris, Rome, Seville, Berlin), and implement a Participatory Budget that is appropriate for its context. Participatory budgeting is a solution that has been approved and recommended by major international agencies, such as UN-Habitat.

Principal Partners The Ecocity World Summit 2011 could not have taken place without the support of its principal partners: Bombardier, TD Group, the City of Montréal, and the Ministère des Affaires municipales, des Régions et de l’Occupation du territoire (Government of Quebec).

About the Montréal Urban Ecology Centre
The Montréal Urban Ecology Centre is an independent not-for-profit organization that was founded in 1996. Its mission is to build and share expertise concerning the most viable and democratic approaches to sustainable urban development. www.urbanecology.net

The 10th Ecocity World Summit will be held in Nantes, France, in 2013.

For further information:

Pascoal Gomes, Montréal Urban Ecology Centre

pascoal@ecologieurbaine.net

 

(Ed Note: Please visit the original site for more content associated with this article.)

 

http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/August2011/26/c6569.html

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