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1) Updating of the Geographical Information System (GIS)

The primary objective of the Observatoire is the monitoring of the Montréal's interior city. Hence updating of the RÉSO and of the attached buildings is done on a continuous basis. The addition of the data available in the City's GIS is done every three or four years; the most recent one was done in 2009 and the 2013 updated version of that GIS will be shortly integrated. Addition of detailed partitioning of the interior space, sometimes on several levels, is also accomplished, but on irregular basis; shopping malls are already available. A detailed presentation of the Observatoire's GIS is available in section Communications, research papers and publications.

Interview Sites
Interior City Perimeter

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2) User surveys

In 2003-2004, close to 4,000 pedestrians in the dowtown area were surveyed, among which 2,500 in the interior walkway system, at different locations and at different times of the week. A preliminary analysis of the results is available in section Communications, research papers and publications. Another survey was done in 2006-2007, with the Financial help of the Insfrastructure Canada grant for the project entitled Extensions of indoor walkways into the public domain: a question of access to public transportation, of 3D urban planning and of public-private partnership. Short summaries of the project and of the final report are is available in section Communications, research papers and publications. This time, around 250 office workers both in Montréal and in Toronto were sampled in six high-rise selected in each downtown area, and a long questionnaire was presented to everyone.


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3) Inventory of accessibility means

Each door in every building of the interior city has been examined and classified according to two main features: the degree of openness to the general public and the function of the interior space, immediately behind the door. This has been called the inventory of accessibility means characterized and it was first made up in 2004. A research paper with a cartographic appendix, delivered to the City of Montréal, is available in section Communications, research papers and publications. Note that out of the 1,372 accesses (doors) only 343 lead directly to the RÉSO. This type of information, continuously updated, is basic in any attempt to model pedestrian mobility in the downtown area and reveals to be essential in the development of security strategies. With the help of the Montréal Fire Department, the inventory should be soon completed by the addition of each obstacle present in the walkway system (interior doors, stairs and dead ends). This will help develop a comprehensive strategy aimed at guaranteeing universal accessibility in the interior city.

Cartography of Accesses
Cartography of Accesses

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4) The judicial data base

All available official agreements relevant to the development of the interior city such as sales agreements involving public property, right of ways, development agreements or tunnel agreements have been assembled in a judicial data base. It is updated on a continuous basis. The research paper delivered to Infrastructure Canada in 2008 for the project Extensions of indoor walkways into the public domain: a question of access to public transportation, of 3D urban planning and of public-private partnership, whose summary is available in section Communications, research papers and publications, examines for instance the uniformity of accessibility hours and design guidelines across the segments of both interior cities.

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5) Modeling pedestrian flows

In order to take informed decisions relative to pedestrian mobility within the downtown area and also relative to customer potential estimation by retailers, pedestrian flows have been measured in 2004-2005 in several locations and at different hours in the RÉSO. This was compared to the data gathered by the City of Montréal at the end of the 1980s. Analytical work was then performed first by Philippe Parenteau and later on by Michel Boisvert with the assistance of Isabel Götte. A communication at the Moscow ACUUS International Conference in 2005 Modeling pedestrian flows in the Montréal's indoor city. Changes in pedestrian flows and communication and publication by John Zacharias on this topic are available in section Communications, research papers and publications.

Changes in pedestrian flows
Changes in Pedestrian Flows from
1989 to 2004 in % Terms (1=100%)

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6) 3D representation

The full accomplishment of its mission, and especially the design of innovative solutions for current and emerging problems encountered in the interior city, requires the Observatoire to get into 3D representation. But this is a very costly task and it has been envisaged in a pragmatic way, segment by segment. One such exercise was done in the vicinity of the Palais des Congrès and more recently several options for the linkage of the Champ-de-Mars subway station to the major CHUM complex under construction have been thoroughly examined using such tools.

Linkage to the CHUM
Options for the Linkage of the Métro to the CHUM

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7) The impact of RESO connections on commercial rents

The applicability of hedonic analysis, a familiar tool in real estate economics, has been examined in order to properly assess the impact of RÉSO connections on commercial rents. But this avenue was temporarily discarded given the large number of information missing in the data and the absence of a dedicated researcher.

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8) The integration of shopping malls with street commerce

Retailing, including personal services outlets, bars, restaurants, theaters and museums, is a major part of the interior. On one hand there is the willingness of its developers to pay for the construction of the climate-controlled walkway system and on the other hand is the reluctance of city planners in general to let shopping mall development dominate this process and hurt badly traditional arterial shopping. Several pieces of work have been done on this topic, among others a communication by Michel Boisvert at a Beijing Conference in 2003 L'implantation de galeries marchandes dans la ville intérieure montréalaise et son impact sur le commerce sur rue. Another analytical work led to a chapter in a book soon to be published Commerce et ville intérieure, la spécificité des galeries marchandes et l'ajout de complexité dans le partage entre espace privé et espace public. Both documents are available in section Communications, research papers and publications.

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9) Extensions of the RÉSO and tridimensional planning

From the initial implementation in 1962 of the interior pedestrian network at Place Ville-Marie until the recent extensions at the Concordia University campus and at the University Hospital Complex (CHUM), the development of this system has been a major challenge for underground planning, now defined as tridimensional planning. Careful monitoring is of course the major task of the Observatoire but in addition, a series of actions, involving new regulations and revised financial means have been put forward to local public authorities. For example, a position paper, available in section Communications, research papers and publications, was presented by the Observatoire in 2004 before the Office de consultation de Montréal, during the last revision of the Official Structure Plan by the City of Montréal. A more recent view is presented in chapter 6 of the book published in 2011 by Michel Boisvert at the Presses de l'Université de Montréal Montréal et Toronto. Villes intérieures.


Le RÉSO dans l'hypercentre montréalais

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Information: Michel Boisvert, associate researcher at l'Observatoire de la ville intérieure
Telephone: 514-458-9633
Email: michel.a.boisvert@umontreal.ca

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