Session Details

Sexy streets and pretty places: who has access to Montreal’s public spaces?

Focus Area: Mobility
Format: Breakout Session
America Walks: No
Full Description: Montreal is characterized by attractive public spaces that feature colourful artwork, multi-story murals, communal gardens, and festivals that span the warmer seasons. In recent years we have seen more development of shared street spaces and public, outdoor ‘living rooms’. However, a closer look suggests these spaces are being designed for a very specific group: the young, middle-class, and able-bodied.

This workshop invites participants to re-imagine these spaces through a lens of intergenerationality and accessibility: a perspective that takes into account the needs of the very young, the very old, and the differently abled. It will also discuss some of the observations that were made while spending time, taking notes, conducting interviews, and doing research in these types of spaces.

Questions that will be explored in this workshop are as follows:


  • What might we learn about public spaces when we begin with the premise that bodies move through urban places in different ways and with diverse rhythms?
  • What sorts of improvements could be made within the space for better access?
  • What are some of the primary barriers, especially for older people?
  • What features might invite social interactions and encourage contact?
  • Can public spaces be designed in a way that contributes to combatting isolation among seniors?

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