This article was written as part of the Peter-McGill Community Council’s Citizen Journalism project, which aims to raise the voices of local residents, students and friends of the neighbourhood through writing, photos, videos and podcasting. If you would like to contribute please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
In collaboration with public, private, and civil sectors, the Peter-McGill Community Council sought to disentangle accessible information and reproduce an accurate depiction of who and what is contained in the district. Partnering with local architecture, planning, and design firm Rayside-Labrossière, an in-depth, 160+ page community portrait was produced, informed by census data, painting the picture of the peoples, places, and purposes of Peter-McGill. This mapping initiative seeks to frame the district’s dynamic diversity, reporting the social and spatial facts necessary for informed governance, providing community actors with local insights.
Hosting 35,789 residents and rising, the Peter-McGill district encompasses a mosaic of neighbourhoods, varying visually in terms of their built presence in the city, but also embodying a complex social arrangement. Ranging in terms of median household income, population density, rental tenancy, permanence of residence, and language, the district’s diversity ought to be well understood, proving essential to an effective provision of public resources.
The portrait paints the picture of vertical living as the principle mode de vie in Peter-McGill, reporting that 79% of district’s units are found in buildings 5 storeys or more. Highlighting issues of housing affordability, identifying local vulnerabilities, illustrating patterns of socio-economic evolution, the portrait offers a socio-territorial diagnostic.
Worthy of particular attention, of Peter-McGill’s 20,830 residential units, 60.7% of them are studios or one bedroom, proving unaccommodating for the districts 3,052 families with children. Also, the district contains 41% of the Borough’s population, but it only hosts a 5% share of Ville-Marie’s social and community housing stock. As a result, Peter-McGill has a housing deficit, where the affordability and availability of family-sized units are not guaranteed, and social housing units are scarce and in dire need. In addition, it is forecasted that nearly 10 000 more residential units will be built in the district within the next 5 years. Given the lack of family-sized residences, and the unavailability of social and community housing, new builds present themselves as looming points of contestation.
Fortunately, future advocacy may encourage civil interest, informed by the portrait’s mapping of the district. As a valuable tool for civil activism, the portrait educates local voices of accountability, providing the necessary facts and figures for informed community mobilization. The comprehensive set of maps proliferated by this project illustrate the district’s distinctions, proving informative to both governing bodies, and those they govern. Therefore, for citizens, the district portrait enhances one’s ability to read the local environment, enriching participatory democracy, producing a knowledgeable civil sector, well-versed in the issues intertwined with local residency.