School of architecture and Urban Design, McGill

School of architecture and Urban Design, McGill

Taille : 13-100
Depuis : 2012 (démarche Imaginons Bellechasse)
Statut : terminé
Duréé :
Territoire : Local

Écoute à long terme
Écoute pour co-création ImaginonsBellechasse
Nik Luka
Professor, urban planning and architecture
School of architecture and Urban Design, McGill


How would you describe your project to a 6 year-old child?

Everyone spends some time in urban environments, and everyone has ideas, questions, joys and fears. I speak with people who are not alike, to capture the diversity of their experiences and then explore ways to make it more interesting and more fun.

What are you listening to?

We listen to know what is the city, what is a neighbourhood, what is a location, what are the experiences, understanding the popular wisdom. We research what is interesting for urban design: the perception of the area by people who have experience there, who are the experts of the area, what the experts aren’t always in a position to grasp.
We also go into the space to understand the physical experience of the space, the feeling, structural changes, spatial and relational changes. To better understand the space that is porous, fluid and constantly changing.


How can we make the city open for co-production? What are the spaces inside the institutions that would make them open entities?


-Ethnographic listening
-Phenomenological listening
-Working with prototyping: starting with lived experiences, to create proposals and coming back to find out what people think.
-Creating a dialogue about the city, using technology and the virtual as a supplement.

Fondements Théorique

People have interesting things to say about their city. The location talks.
Design is a discovery process, not necessarily for creation, we aim to reinforce what is interesting.
We have the capacity has humans to take what people say, absorb it and convert it into something that could inform an intervention.


Kevin Lynch, redefined the city in the 50’s and 60’s by asking people to draw their mental maps.
Artistes, for example Christo, who does projects that make people talk to each other, provoking a dialogue
Tweenbots project: http://www.tweenbots. com/

L’importance de l’écoute

Listening is important because we live in democratic cities where we have to make shared decisions . Listening allows us to rethink and question the evidence or things that are taken for granted and appreciate a diversity of perspectives. It also allows for a better logical understanding, the hidden discourse in what people tell us.


Co-producing the city helps give “Mr and Mrs Everbody” confidence to be part of their city as decision makers, that they can co-create the city. If people have a feeling of belonging toward the city, they will take care (stewardship). It brings confidence back to the specialized role of experts and politicians, in a time when we are in a loss of confidence and cynicism.