Saint-Marc, Shawinigan

How can merchants be convinced 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 Shawinigan in Quebec’s Mauricie region. The neighborhood has an urban form conducive to active travel and 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 lack of public places for meeting and relaxing.

We worked with municipal 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 and convincing tool!

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 were enough parking spaces for some to be converted into public plots, while still meeting the needs of visitors.

These findings are a foundation that will support professionals in their decision-making and their work to bring about change. 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 to develop a shared a vision. In Ville de 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!