The future Quartier des lumières in Montréal’s Centre-Sud borough will be one of only nine neighbourhoods in the world to lay the groundwork for a new international Fitwel Community certification, thanks to the initiative of leading architecture, design and planning firm Lemay and master land developer MACH. This future neighbourhood will be the only Canadian site in the Fitwel pilot project, administered by the Center for Active Design (CFAD) in New York, NY.
The new Fitwel Community standard is unique in promoting planning strategies with positive health impacts in seven distinct categories: increasing physical activity, promoting occupant safety, reducing illness and absenteeism, promoting social equity for vulnerable populations, fostering feelings of well-being and improving community health and access to healthy food.
As part of the Quartier des lumières master plan, Lemay proposed Fitwel program participation for the 20-acre neighbourhood, whose anchor is the iconic Radio-Canada tower; and leading Canadian real estate promoter MACH embraced the initiative.
“The Fitwel Community approach looks to long-term impact on Quartier des lumières residents and visitors, who will benefit from comfortable surroundings that promote healthy, active and inclusive lifestyles,” said Hugo Lafrance, Sustainability Director at Lemay.
“This Fitwel certification is community-wide and combines all aspects of Centre-Sud,” said Christopher Sweetnam Holmes, Vice President, Real Estate Development, at MACH. “We believe in this total neighbourhood approach as the most harmonious way forward for long-term development.”
“As a developer it’s part of our duty to care for the communities that welcome us.”
The proposed new urban framework defines the Quartier’s squares and parks, streets and shared spaces, pedestrian crossings and green alleys that will criss-cross the site. The main park will provide an area of over 56,000 sq. ft. These new public and semi-public spaces will be conducive to the emergence of community life and the vibrancy of this future district, ultimately creating a dynamic living environment with optimal density to support local businesses.
In its Net PositiveTM approach, Lemay systematically offers its clients strategies to maximize the sustainable value of their projects, which in this case involved emphasis on environmental harmony and social diversity for the mixed-use neighbourhood. The program prioritizes pedestrian and bicycle connections, access to quality public spaces and controlled densities to create an urban neighbourhood on a human scale. It also includes large areas reserved for special projects involving social economy, community education and citizens’ groups.
The project will also include the development of approximately 1,000 social and affordable housing units, office space and a residential component for a diversified clientele that will include students, young couples and families, as well as single and retired people.
Pedestrian and cyclist connections will be a priority within the Quartier des lumières. It will be welcoming for active transportation, with limited car speeds and measures to discourage truck traffic throughout the site. The goal is to create a safe and peaceful place that builds community trust, social connections, and civic involvement. With the Quartier des lumières, Lemay and MACH are leveraging their complementary expertise to lay the foundation for a community with a sense of belonging, a focus on people and an emphasis on overall well-being.