In 1996, Lucia Kowaluk, Dimitri Roussopoulos and other citizens founded the Société de développement communautaire de Montréal (SodecM), which later became known as the Montréal Urban Ecology Centre (MUEC). During its first decade, the Centre was an organization deeply rooted in the Milton-Park community, where it led the participatory development of the neighborhood's sustainable development plan, "Imagine Milton Parc."
For active involvement of citizens in the future of their living environment
Local struggles prompt the Centre to organize the first Citizen Summits to awaken citizens and the city of Montréal to urban issues such as urban planning and design, social housing, neighborhood revitalization, social, community and economic development. The first summit took place in 2001. Ten years later, the Ecocity Summit, organized under the leadership of the Centre, marks a turning point. Participants from around the world attend to discuss the viable city.
The question of democracy and active citizenship soon became central to the Centre's mission. Since 2004, the MUEC has been involved in promoting participatory budgeting practices and processes. It now acts as a french reference on the subject and works to spread the knowledge and practices. The Centre has been working in the field, accompanying the first Québec municipality since 2014 to implement a participatory budget cycle.
Strong and diversified expertise to change the city with its citizens
During its evolution, the organization set in motion several projects and expanded its territory of experimentation, but remained active at the level of the neighborhood, well connected to the reality of the citizens. It transformed into a space for encounter, experimentation and sharing.
The greening projects are a tremendous opportunity to make the city more ecological while encouraging citizen engagement and creating social ties. The Centre took advantage of this leverage. In 2005, the Centre published guides and studies on greening, particularly on green roofs. In 2012, the Centre transformed the roof of the Palais des congrès into a green roof and undertook a vast project of participatory greening in HLM communities.
The Quartiers verts, actifs et en santé (QVAS) project, an ambitious participatory planning initiative, was launched in 2008. Four neighborhoods and their communities transformed their living environment with the help of the Centre.
2013 saw the birth of Active Neighborhoods Canada , whom brought the participative planning approach across Canada. Over time, the MUEC has expanded its outreach to other municipalities in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta, and is building strong partnerships in Canada and the United States.
20 years of commitment
Over the years, thousands of people and dozens of organizations have been actively involved in the Centre's projects, enabling them to design spaces that meet their needs.
After more than 20 years of existence, the Centre now displays a beautiful maturity. The citizen is still the center of our actions, an actor of his living environment at the heart of our priorities. It illustrates the resolute direction of the Centre: to encourage the transformation of cities, for and especially by those who live in them.