Although the 20th century was the century of the car, in the 21st we’ve become aware of the harmful effects on health and the environment associated with climate change caused by greenhouse gasses.
That’s why, to reduce this threat, the leaders of metropolitan communities in Montréal and Québec City have adopted a Metropolitan Land Use and Development Plan (PMAD) to provide a framework for and direction to urban growth. The establishment of TOD neighbourhoods is part of this new philosophy that encourages the community to gather around a commercial centre and public transportation service points.
Do you know a TOD? Yes, yes, you read correctly: Tod not Ted. TOD is the acronym for Transport Oriented Development, designating a neighbourhood where everything is done by foot, by bike, and by public transport. For example, this concept is behind the Urbania condo projects (including the one in Laval near the Montmorency metro station), Collège Montmorency, university campuses (Université de Montréal and UQAM), and commercial centres.
A few statistics
In Quebec, between 1971 and 2006, the population of metropolitan regions increased by 62%, and urban sprawl shot up by 261 %.
Between 1990 and 2007, the distance covered by a driver to get to work rose by 29%. Transportation by car represented 70% of all gas consumption and produced 43% of greenhouse gas emissions. In 2007, 13% of Quebecers’ household budgets was dedicated to costs associated with the use of a car.
Now, at a point where 95% of people drive to work, research has shown that 54% of this population is overweight.
These few statistics* show that we need a new way of living together.
*Source: Vivre en ville plus [www.collectivitesviables.org].
Montréal’s PMAD aims to concentrate 40% of new households in sustainable TOD neighbourhoods. This objective could reach 60% if public transport services are increased. By 2031, we predict that the commute to work of 35% of citizens will be done by public transport, either by suburban train, REM (Réseau électrique métropolitain), metro or bus.
PMAD’s challenge, with sustainable land-use development in mind, is to set a metropolitan perimeter able to fit the 320 ,000 households predicted by 2031. This perimeter will also have to take into account the protection and development of agricultural areas.
The emergence of TOD neighbourhoods in the suburbs
New TOD neighbourhoods are appearing in the suburbs, where their residents can enjoy open spaces and a pleasant atmosphere. The Urbania 2 project, in Laval, reflects this concept perfectly with its peaceful residences, abundant gardens, lively pedestrian street, etc. It’s definitely a village reimagined, where urban life in the suburbs is now a reality.
All things considered, the urban village is a pleasant place to work, play and live!