Saint-Marc, Shawinigan

How to convince merchants of the merits of an approach that will reduce the number of parking spaces available on the street around the Saint-Marc market?

Learning to work together to transform the city

Saint-Marc is a former working-class neighborhood in the heart of the city of Shawinigan in the Mauricie region. The neighborhood has an urban form that is conducive to active travel and has a vibrant community fabric. Despite this, there are few developments favoring active transportation. It is also characterized by a socio-economically disadvantaged population, many urban heat islands, and a glaring lack of meeting and relaxation areas.

We worked with the city's professionals to take advantage of the opportunity offered by the renovation of Saint-Paul Street. Together, we defined a friendly and safe design concept. Through a call for pilot projects, citizens were also invited to rethink and improve a public space of their choice.

The field survey, a relevant tool... and convincing!

The project aimed to improve active mobility, greening and public spaces in the neighbourhood. We worked with city professionals to enhance an existing redevelopment project, and we worked with citizens to identify the dreams and community roots of Saint-Marc. A survey of parking occupancy rates at the market also found that there was enough parking space for some to be converted into public plots, while meeting the needs of visitors.

These findings are a foundation that will support City professionals in their decision-making and their work to make change happen. Participatory urban planning not only makes it possible to equip community groups and professionals, but also to bring these different actors together and break the silos, developing a shared a vision. In the City of Shawinigan, it is now common for engineering and urban planning departments to approach their projects through a multidisciplinary approach. This is how we transform a neighbourhood!