Observatoire de la ville intérieure

Research associates


A Conference organized by the Observatoire de la ville intérieure for its 5th Anniversary.

Affiche of the Conference

Wednesday October 24, 2007, at Université de Montréal, Faculté de l'aménagement
2940 Chemin Côte Ste-Catherine (metro station Université de Montréal)
Conferences: Hydro Québec Auditorium (room 1120)
Exhibition of past research works: room 3083

You must register in order to attend the Conference.
»Go to the Registration form by clicking here.

Special services

  • English/French simultaneous translation will be available all day long.
  • Free lunch will be offered to those registered prior to Monday, October 22nd, at noon.

Financial support

For the most part, the financial support comes from Infrastructure Canada, a component of the federal Department of Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities, through an ongoing research grant allocated to the Observatoire de la ville intérieure for a project entitled Extensions of indoor cities into the public domain: a question of access to public transportation, of 3D urban planning and of public-private partnership. The City of Montréal is sponsoring simultaneous translation (English/French) as well as the buffet at lunch time, following a request presented by its Planning Division. The research vice-principal at the Université de Montréal made a special contribution to the Conference while the Faculty (Faculté de l'aménagement) and the Department (Institut d'urbanisme) helped in terms of personnel.


08h30   Registration

Welcome addresses

  • Giovanni de Paoli, dean Faculté de l'aménagement
  • Michel Boisvert, chairperson, Observatoire de la ville intérieure
  • Michel Labrecque vice-president Spectra, in charge of the annual Indoor and Underground Festival, and councilor City of Montréal

Montréal's RÉSO from all angles: selected research results

Martin Gagnon, lecturer and studio activity tutor, Institut d'urbanisme; project manager, Observatoire de la ville intérieure. martin.gagnon@umontreal.ca

Deep into the city and right in the middle of urban networks: how to define Montréal's indoor city, over time

Is it an underground city, a troglodyte? Rather a lively pedestrian city, right in the middle of downtown? Or simply another dimension of the same urban fabric? How does such an indoor city interact with the outdoor city? Looking closely into every step of its growth process should help answering these questions. Difficulties of representation for such a complex 3D meta structure will be highlighted together with relevant research areas in the field.

Michel Boisvert, professor at Institut d'urbanisme, head of the Observatoire and member of the board, ACUUS. michel.a.boisvert@umontreal.ca

Extensions of indoor walkways into the public domain, in Montréal and Toronto. A public-private partnership experiment

This presentation aims at a thorough assessment of the type of partnership that has been experienced in extending indoor walkways into the public domain, first among the owners of linked properties and then between the private sector and the municipal authorities. Emphasis will be put on the various ways the cost involved has been allocated between all concerned private parties and on the rationale for public financial support, when it applied. It will highlight some of the major findings that came out of a major research effort of the Observatoire, financed by Infrastructure Canada, which started in May 2006 and is expected to end in December 2007.

John Zacharias, professor in the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment, director, Urban studies programme,Concordia University. zachar@alcor.concordia.ca

Planning underground urban space - where, when and how?

Making underground space is unlike planning at ground level: the space is enclosed, relatively expensive and difficult to modify once constructed. Pedestrian behaviour is different in underground space because of the absence of significant markers and orientation. Underground urban space is typically connected to development at the ground level, resulting in a unique dynamic relationship between below- and above-ground space. This paper sets out a framework for planning and evaluating underground urban space. Among the topics that need to be considered are the following: how can we estimate future pedestrian flows on underground corridors, in the short- and long-term? What are the effects of later phases of development on the earlier phases? What is the relationship between above- and below-ground pedestrian flows? How do we separate and evaluate flows for commuting purposes, shopping and leisure?

Vincent Dionne, project manager, Madituc Group, École Polytechnique de Montréal. vincent.dionne@polymtl.ca

Modeling mobility to and from subway stations

The complex labyrinth of the indoor city is clearly a missing link for current route choice models. On the other hand, large transportation household surveys do contain neglected information upon individual mobility patterns. Powerful analytical and mapping techniques, involving time and spatial dimensions, can lead to a better understanding of downtown spatio-dynamics namely variations in accessibility to subway stations, in trip generation capacity and in land use patterns over long term.
Communication préparée en collaboration avec Robert Chapleau, professeur, et Daniel Piché, chargé de projet, École Polytechnique de Montréal

Ernst van der Werf, Master in urban planning, Institut d'Urbanisme, research assistant at the Observatoire de la ville intérieure. ervdwerf@hotmail.com

L'intermodalité dans le parcours: re-qualification des correspondances au sein du pôle d'échanges du Centre des affaires de Montréal

Pour l'usager des transports collectifs en milieu urbain, l'intermodalité joue un rôle majeur dans le confort des parcours. Pour les opérateurs, elle peut en assurer la relance. Or la qualité actuelle du pôle d'échanges formé par la Gare centrale, le terminus Centre-ville de la RTL et la station de métro Bonaventure, dans le Centre des affaires et au coeur de la ville intérieure, laisse à désirer, suivant les critères d'intégration actuellement en usage. Une esquisse de réaménagement du pôle montréalais sera présentée.

12h00   Comments and remarks from the audience
12h15   Comments and suggestions on the future of RÉSO and on research related to planning underground space in Montréal
  • Paul Lewis, professor at the Institut d'urbanisme and head of Observatoire SITQ sur le développement urbain et immobilier
  • André Poulin, chief executive officer, Destination Centre-ville
12h30   Lunch (in the Hall of the Pavilion)

Other world-known walkway systems: challenges for the planning of underground space

There will be a short period of questions after each talk.

Pierre Bélanger, professor and researcher at the Center for Landscape Architecture, University of Toronto


Beneath the surface of the streets of Toronto lies a sprawling labyrinth that serves over 100,000 people every day and countless tourists and visitors. One of the city's most under-valued urban spaces, Toronto's underground is remarkably the largest underground shopping complex in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records with more than 30 kilometers of shopping tunnels and retail nodes. Since the 1970s, this underground system has grown and multiplied beneath the surface of the city with relatively little intervention from city planners. This presentation discusses the development pattern of the underground as a network and the future it holds as an important urban infrastructure.


Jeffrey K. Privett, coordinating planner, Division of Project Development, Department of Transportation, City of Chicago, Chairman of the Advisory Committee on cycling and pedestrian issues, Metropolitan Association for Planning


Chicago's system of grade-separated downtown Pedways, one of the most extensive in the United States, have gone through cycles of growth and stagnation, but are poised for a renaissance. This presentation provides an overview of the development and ownership of the system over its 56-year history, results of customer research, and discussion and images of recently renovated segments of the system, and of a new wayfinding system about to be installed.


Gu Xin, senior planner, Urban Planning and Design Institute, Shen Zhen; Syndic of the Chinese Society of Underground Space; involved in the planning of the subway as well as very large real estate developments involving underground space utilization

Utilizing Underground Space in Shen Zhen

The presentation will be composed of 4 parts: background information on the city of Shen Zhen, features and issues in the development of underground space, planning and urban management strategies for the future, examination of representative cases studies. Final discussion will focus on how to deal with development opportunities and how to cope with the pressure which comes with the current period of transition to a market economy

16h45   Coffee break

Discussion over a research agenda

chairman of the session
Tiiu Poldma, vice-dean research, Faculté de l'aménagement, and member Scientific Committee, Observatoire de la ville intérieure

Pierre Bélanger, Jeffrey K.Privett, Gu Xin
Michel Boisvert, head of the Observatoire de la ville intérieure
Jacques Besner, architect and urban planner, City of Montréal, special advisor to ACUUS


Special ceremony for Groupe Canam

The dean of the Faculty, Giovanni de Paoli, and the director of the Observatoire, Michel Boisvert, will present their compliments to the Groupe Canam for their support since the very beginning of the Observatoire via the Groupe Canam-Manac Scholarship, with the recipients on stage

Representative of Groupe Canam Inc.:
Richard Vincent, vice-president, research and development

18h00   End of Conference
Cocktail (Hall of the Pavilion)


You must register in order to attend the Conference.
»Go to the Registration form by clicking here.

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