The Lachine-Est district is a former industrial area now composed of numerous abandoned buildings and underutilized contaminated lands. However, the presence of heritage buildings, its proximity to the historic downtown of Lachine and the Lachine Canal make it a subject of interest for the borough administration, the City of Montreal, as well as many local citizens and community groups. Studies are underway since 2004 to assess the redevelopment potential. In 2020, given the scope of the opportunities and challenges, the City of Montreal began using a concerted planning process. The City of Montreal and Ouranos have launched a call for projects to integrate adaptation to climate change for the implementation of a Living Lab-inspired research project aimed at understanding, documenting and increasing the integration of adaptation to climate change in the development processes of urban projects in Montreal, through the case of the redevelopment of Lachine-Est.
The specific objectives of the Labo Climat Montréal were to identify and act on issues related to coordination and expertise, and better clarify the choices related to climate adaptation throughout the process. The research group followed a 3-step iterative method:
Understanding current practices and their potential to leverage/constrain adaptation, the issues faced by professionals, and the governance context;
Experimenting by integrating new actors, expertise and ways of formulating the issues, at different moments of the urban project process;
Documenting exchanges on a continuous basis to ensure analysis and follow-up of the process, reflexivity of researchers and practitioners as well as the implementation of the lessons learned.
The Labo Climat Montréal worked in co-construction with planning stakeholders. The approach aimed to identify and act on 1) coordination between stakeholders; 2) expertise used in climate change adaptation, in the context of an urban project; and 3) clarification of adaptation choices.