In the past, Montréal, Québec area leaders have been unable to collaborate on common projects, such as finding funds to build adequate transportation to the suburban Mirabel airport, which closed and had to be demolished.
But this is slowly changing. For the first time, mayors of the entire region and civil society groups are working from a common plan to turn the metropolitan area into a thriving and sustainable urban center.
In 2000, the provincial government passed a law allowing the creation of a metropolitan organization to facilitate the management of regional services such as transportation, public housing, infrastructure, planning and environmental protection. The Montréal Metropolitan Community, or CMM, was created soon after.
They’re applying best practices from abroad and inventing their own tools for sound regional governance. Advertising “Greater Montréal” to global business is just one way that plan is being put into action.
The new thinking in the Montréal region underlies an important meeting taking place here in October, 2015. Mayors and urban experts from around the world are gathering to discuss how to share and strengthen models for governing metropolitan areas.
The resulting Montréal Declaration will feed directly into the agenda for Habitat III, the United Nations’ once-every-20-years conference on cities, to take place next year.
[Photo of Montréal Biosphère by Storm Cunningham]