Few or no sidewalks, grass or earth on the ground, drawings, benches, games for children, vegetable gardens, flowers, rainwater collectors... and above all places of life shared by its inhabitants.
Montreal has at least 400 green alleys.
A version of certain pedestrian streets present in Strasbourg but pushed to the power of 10. This is what Jeanne Barseghian, mayor of the Alsatian capital, went to discover, at the beginning of October, with a delegation of deputies, agents of the community or members of civil society.
“In Montreal, there is a real work of reappropriation of the space by the inhabitants, placed at the heart of a real citizen approach, explains the assistant for local democracy Carole Zielinski.
Cooperation is not only between administration and elected officials.
The community makes the alley available, but it is the inhabitants who take over the street, sometimes even having it closed… But these are not busy streets, she warns.
Often these are kind of backyard or occasionally busy.
A way of proceeding considered interesting by the Strasbourg delegation who came to respond to the visit, at the beginning of the summer, of the mayor of the Montreal borough of Rosemont-La Petite Patrie.
But no question of copying and pasting in the Alsatian capital.
Rather be inspired by it.
“With a method to arrive with quality and sustainable projects”, imagines the elected official.
The methodology put in place by the Canadian city also greatly interested the Strasbourg delegation, such as “citizen participation”.
"Which corresponds somewhat to our participatory budget", explains Carole Zielinski.
Easier to imagine a green street in person than by email
The mayor of Strasbourg and her team also discovered the "placottoirs", a sometimes green public space designed as an extension of the sidewalk, on the roadway where residents can meet, work, socialize.
“Montreal is a city known for testing a lot of things in tactical, ephemeral, transitional urban planning, underlines Pierre Zimmermann, in charge of questions of ecological transformations at the general management of Strasbourg.
Like the redevelopment of squares, the design or the implementation of cycle paths.
The whole strategy they have developed in terms of a citizen approach, temporary accommodation, is always very inspiring.
When the Canadians came to the European capital, they showed themselves "very interested in our eco-districts, and participatory housing, says Carole Zielinski, something they really want to develop at home and on which Strasbourg is already strongly committed and in progress.
The elected continues about this exchange between Montreal and Strasbourg correspondents: “It is all the interest of having gone there.
Because with projects presented on conceptualized images and e-mails, it is still a little difficult to project oneself.
While there, they are already made, they are before our eyes.
It's much easier to imagine them in Strasbourg and move towards a transitional urbanism that leads to sustainability.
If there is not yet a timetable for concrete achievements in Strasbourg, it is time for reflection.
In the meantime, the weekly exchanges between the teams of the two communities working on common projects will continue... but "by videoconference".
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How does a street become green in Montreal?
“The project is thought out with Montrealers, explains Carole Zieliinski, deputy mayor of Strasbourg, who make proposals and are candidates to enter the green alleys program.
They must obtain the support of the majority of the lane.
It is necessary that 70% of the inhabitants of the street accept that it becomes a green alley, and then at least 50% of the inhabitants must engage in its maintenance.
This real commitment is essential.
I would like to be able to use this spirit in the development of our participatory budget in Strasbourg.
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