Building Montréal, UNESCO City of Design: $1.2-million investment over three years

    MONTREAL, June 3 /CNW Telbec/ - Christine St-Pierre, Minister of Culture,
Communications and the Status of Women, Nathalie Normandeau, Deputy Premier
and Minister of Municipal Affairs, Regions and Land Occupancy, Richard
Deschamps, Senior Vice-President of the Conférence régionale des élus de
Montréal, and André Lavallée, Ville de Montréal Executive Committee Vice-Chair
Responsible for the Transportation Plan, Urban Planning, Heritage and Design,
have announced that $1.2 million is to be invested over three years in the
project Réalisons Montréal Ville UNESCO de design ("Building Montréal, UNESCO
City of Design"). This investment will be used to finance the holding of
design and architecture competitions and to promote Montréal's initiatives via
the Web portal.
    This project, initiated by the Design Montréal Office and the UNESCO
Chair in Landscape and Environmental Design of Université de Montréal, aims to
stimulate opportunities for creation and highlight initiatives by the design
industry that give vital and tangible expression to Montréal's status as a
UNESCO City of Design. As such, it aims to achieve the objectives put forward
in the Action Plan 2007-2017-Montréal, Cultural Metropolis.
    "The promotion of excellence in architecture and design is among the
objectives identified in the Action Plan 2007-2017-Montréal, Cultural
Metropolis, and so I am delighted that the Ministère de la Culture, des
Communications et de la Condition féminine is taking part in implementing this
sweeping project, which will, among other things, help raise public awareness
of the role of architecture in society and promote best practices in design,"
Ms. St-Pierre stated. She added: "In this regard, the series of handbooks
Imaginer, réaliser la ville du 21e siècle, Cahiers des bonnes pratiques en
design, which is inspired by successful experiments abroad and highlights
recent examples of best practices in design in Montréal, is concrete evidence
of the desire to enrich the quality of our urban environment in a sustainable

    Making Montréal with input from designers

    The main challenges of Building Montréal, UNESCO City of Design are to:

    - lead the various influential players in urban development to engage
      with the project to conceive and build the city with input from
    - develop, by the power of example, Montrealers' interest in and taste
      for-and, consequently, their demand for-good design;
    - promote design competitions as the preferred process for awarding
      public commissions, because of their transparency, their educational
      scope and the quality that they generate;
    - facilitate access to public commissions both by emerging and
      experienced designers;
    - promote best practices and highlight the work of all those who champion
      quality in design;
    - encourage the undertaking of projects that contribute to the quality
      and sustainability of the living environment, and to the development of
      Montréal's urban landscapes.

    Beginning this fall, a call for proposals aimed at identifying design and
architecture competitions will be issued to public and parapublic institutions
as well as non-profit organizations. A selection committee made up of
independent experts will assess the relevance and feasibility of the
competition proposals submitted. Terms and conditions as well as the selection
criteria will be defined in the months to come.
    The objective is to implement, over a three-year horizon, public
competitions leading to exemplary achievements on a variety of scales (e.g.,
buildings, parks and public spaces, street furniture) resulting from actions
by practitioners of different design disciplines: architecture, landscape
architecture, urban planning, interior design, industrial design, graphic
design and signage, and the like.
    "Building Montréal, UNESCO City of Design is a collective project that
engages everyone from elected officials to citizens, experts, entrepreneurs
and designers," Mr. Lavallée said. "We want to foster creative activity that
will enhance the design quality of public spaces through improved integration
of designers from various disciplines at an earlier stage in urban development
projects. It is also an opportunity to strengthen the dissemination as well as
the local and international networking of made-in-Montréal design via a new
Web portal."

    Montréal, a recognized hub of dynamic design

    Montréal was designated a UNESCO City of Design in June 2006, based on
the strong concentration of talent in the city and its effervescent design
scene. The designation is not a label; rather, it is a call to mobilization
and action to make creativity in design a key thrust of Montréal's
    "Montréal is a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, alongside
such great cities as Berlin, Buenos Aires and Kobe," Ms. Normandeau
emphasized. "It is only natural that we should be a partner in this
wide-ranging project, Building Montréal, UNESCO City of Design, which is
contributing to the international reputation, reach and influence of the city.
Encouraging the participation of municipal elected officials, along with
citizens, and stimulating the creativity of architects and designers to make
Québec's metropolis more attractive are goals that I fully endorse."
    For his part, Mr. Deschamps added: "This investment in Building Montréal,
UNESCO City of Design by the Conférence régionale des élus de Montréal
confirms our belief in the strategic nature of this project. It also
acknowledges that designers are key members of our most innovative workforce,
and frontline partners in making Montréal into a world-renowned creative and
knowledge capital."
    A key component of this project, launched online today, is a dynamic Web
portal presenting all of the past achievements and current initiatives that
are part of the ongoing affirmation of Montréal as a UNESCO City of Design.
The website, like the city, will be built as the weeks go by, with new
projects added regularly-a reflection of Montréal's drive and dynamism when it
comes to design.
    The Building Montréal, UNESCO City of Design project has already given
rise to two successful events: the Pecha Kucha Night for Elected Officials,
which took place on September 30, 2008, and the Youth Design pilot project,
presented as part of the third annual Design Montréal Open House, held this
past May.

    Building Montréal, UNESCO City of Design is an initiative of the Design
Montréal Office of the Ville de Montréal and the UNESCO Chair in Landscape and
Environmental Design of Université de Montréal. The $1.2-million project is
being funded in equal parts by the Ministère de la Culture, des Communications
et de la Condition féminine, the Ministère des Affaires municipales, des
Régions et de l'Occupation du territoire, the Conférence régionale des élus de
Montréal and the Ville de Montréal.
    For more information:

For further information:

For further information: Hélène Reeves, Media Relations, (514) 872-2759,
(514) 573-6892; Sources: Design Montréal Office, Ville de Montréal, UNESCO
Chair in Landscape and Environmental Design, Université de Montréal

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