Open letter posted in the Montreal Gazette on November 17th, 2009

Monday, November 16th 2009

IPAM: Towards a credible model of development for Montreal

The economic, social and ecological challenges to urban development require an open-minded and forward-looking dialogue accessible to all sectors of Montréal society. For these reasons, we have founded the Institut de politiques alternatives de Montréal (IPAM), a non-partisan, think tank made up of researchers, practitioners, and other stakeholders who will contribute to urban development in Montréal over the long term.

IPAM is created as a think tank, a research centre, and an open public forum where different publics can meet, exchange ideas, and debate. Its purpose is to document, analyze, and make proposals for a better urban development of Montreal and the metropolitan region. It will act to provide a way for civil society to contribute its own innovative solutions alongside those of municipal bodies to help shape Montréal’s long-term future. Without replacing existing organisations, this citizens’ initiative seeks to contribute to viable urban planning in Montréal, to its economic and sustainable development, and local democracy. As an independent and multidisciplinary organization, IPAM aims to play a key role in the on-going municipal debate on policy choices leading to an equitable and prosperous society.

By combining the strengths and expertise of a wide range of specialists in complementary fields of activity both locally and from elsewhere, including university research, business, socioeconomics, neighbourhood roundtables, women’s organizations, ethnic communities, and environmental NGOs, we will create a centre of reference composed of people who will mobilize around issues of ecology, sociology, economy, democracy and physical planning related to urban development and recommend courses of action for the municipal administration in each of these areas.

As a first initiative we call on the new City Administration to engage in the following three actions in the next 100 days, and offer our cooperation to do so:

  • Convene a Summit 2010 jointly with civil society on the future of Montréal to identify the priorities and the orientations for the city and the metropolitan region, including the objectives and projects anticipated to mark the 375th Anniversary of the
  • Launch a consultation process on the obligatory update of Montreal`s Urban Plan and of the overall plan for the metropolitan region, to identify priority orientations and credible rules for their implementation in relation to the Summit 2010;
  • Reinforce citizen participation by reinforcing the independent consultative agencies and at the end of Sommet de Montreal 2010, a social contract should be concluded between the city of Montreal and civil society that recognizes an ongoing formal partnership. Such a partnership would require decision-makers to regularly consult Montreal’s civil society on the priorities of our city. This partnership should result in a more holistic approach to urban development of our city/region.

These three actions would initiate for everyone that makes up the city and region’s civil society, an understanding and agreement on a definition of the parameters of city planning and development, and share a clear vision of their rightful place in a permanent, constructive, democratic and effective dialogue with political decision-makers.

Phyllis Lambert
Institut de politiques alternatives de Montréal (IPAM)

Dinu Bumbaru
Institut de politiques alternatives de Montréal (IPAM)

Dimitri Roussopoulos
Institut de politiques alternatives de Montréal (IPAM)