Fighting climate change in an urban context: Toward a disability inclusive approach

By Sébastien Jodoin and Naomi Gupta
While existing literature already addresses the consequences of urban climate action for racial and socio-economic inequalities, its intersections with inclusion and equality for people with disabilities have received little attention from researchers. This lack of knowledge is problematic in light of emerging evidence that climate mitigation and adaptation efforts have the potential to dismantle and reinforce the social, economic and physical barriers faced by people with disabilities.

Urban inequality and planning in a context of socio-ecological transition: The Conseil interculturel de Montréal’s action research experience

By Chloé Reiser
In Montreal, territorial inequalities are a central issue in planning policies, with a view to a fairer socio-ecological transition. Although the City of Montreal recognizes the existence of such inequalities within its territory, much remains to be done to guarantee equitable access to urban resources for all citizens. As part of the renewal of the city’s Urban Planning and Mobility Plan, the Conseil interculturel de Montréal (CIM) is looking at the experiences of immigrant and racialized people in terms of territorial inequalities. Drawing on an in-depth review of grey and academic literature, as well as an online survey and mapping-discussion workshops conducted in three disadvantaged city neighborhoods – Saint-Léonard, Saint-Laurent and Montréal-Nord – immigrant and racialized people not only identify obstacles to accessing urban resources, notably public transport, affordable housing and green spaces, but also put forward solutions to address these persistent issues.

Architecture + Homelessness: Inclusive practices for urban solidarity

By Carolyne Grimard, Sonia Blank, Sarahlou Wagner Lapierre, Elizabeth Prince et Véronic Lapalme
The COVID-19 pandemic, combined with the housing, migration and climate crises, has increased inequalities and exacerbated homelessness in urban areas. How can we engage architecture to transform our cities in solidarity with people experiencing or at risk of homelessness? Research carried out by the team of Architecture Sans Frontières Québec (ASFQ) and the Université de Montréal has identified planning gestures aimed at reversing the dynamics of exclusion, reconsidering perceptions of home and adapting design to the realities of life in public space.

Energy poverty in Canada: Social and geographic inequalities

By Mylène Riva
Between 6% and 19% of Canadian households are currently grappling with energy poverty, according to data sourced from the 2017 Survey of Household Spending. This research delves into the social and geographic distribution of this phenomenon across the country. The study reveals that certain household types, such as those with single occupants, lone parents, or older members, face significantly higher odds of experiencing energy poverty. Geographical disparities are evident, with households in Atlantic provinces and rural areas facing nearly double the odds of energy poverty compared to other regions. These findings underscore the socio-spatial patterning of energy poverty in Canada and highlight its variability across different locales.

“Climate justice” in Quebec: Struggle, mobilization, and practice

By Hélène Madénian, Sophie L. Van Neste, Zaïnab El Guerrab and René Audet
This synthesis presents a history of the struggles that have helped redefine the environmental movement in Quebec over the past fifteen years. First, the struggles against hydrocarbons, then three subsequent moments in the movement: roadmaps and local experiments for transition, conversations to bring « the margins » back to the heart of the climate movement, and contestations from an urban wasteland in Montreal.

Justice in energy transitions

By Stephen Williams and Andréanne Doyon
As the climate crisis grows, energy systems are transitioning to renewable and sustainable alternatives. However, these transitions often lead to injustice and inequities. Transitions research must better consider justice in its analysis. Drawing from environmental and energy justice literature, we consider justice for people, communities, and the non-living in transitions research through the development of an analytical framework. The framework provides reflective practice to support distributive, procedural, and recognition justice.

Access to green spaces: A source of environmental inequalities? The case of Saint-Henri in Montreal

By Étienne Tardif-Paradis
In recent years, the Montreal metropolis has stepped up the implementation of greening projects in line with an ideal of sustainable urban development and environmental justice. The Saint-Henri district is an emblematic case in point, with its high density of green spaces. However, the proliferation of public interventions to green urban spaces is taking place in a living environment characterized by specific socio-economic realities and needs, and marked by a process of gentrification. Here, the authorities’ desire to respond to certain socio-environmental inequalities by improving access to green spaces is having paradoxical consequences.

Evaluating equity and justice in Vancouver’s Sea2City design challenge: An application of the JustAdapt framework

By Tira Okamoto and Andréanne Doyon
Coastal cities around the world are facing intersecting problems of adapting to sea level rise while addressing social equity. Vancouver, British Columbia – located on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations – is no exception. The City of Vancouver recently completed the Sea2City Design Challenge (Sea2City), inspiring collaborative design concepts for False Creek, a narrow inlet near downtown Vancouver. Using Sea2City as a case study, this research applies the JustAdapt evaluative framework to evaluate equity and justice in coastal adaptation planning in Vancouver.

Clearing the air: Barriers to improving air quality and reducing environmental inequity along Vancouver’s Clark-Knight corridor

By Nancy Lai-Chu Chan
Based on a thesis completed for the SFU Masters of Urban Studies Program, this research summary focuses on the investigation of barriers to implementing policies and programs to improve air quality and reduce environmental inequity related to traffic-related air pollution exposure along the Clark-Knight corridor, home to a six-lane arterial road and one of the busiest, most polluted truck routes in the Metro Vancouver region.

Energy poverty: An overlooked determinant of health and climate resilience in Canada

By Mylène Riva
Even though Canada is a significant energy producer, not all Canadians have access to or can afford sufficient energy services at home to fulfill their needs, maintain comfortable indoor temperatures, and lead decent lives—a circumstance referred to as energy poverty. This research, the first of its kind in the Canadian context, examines the connection between energy poverty and health. It demonstrates that experiencing energy poverty is linked to a significantly higher probability of poor physical and mental health. Considering the substantial portion of Canadian households affected by energy poverty and its demonstrated impact on public health, addressing this issue is crucial for ensuring an equitable energy transition and enhancing climate resilience.

Climate change adaptation on the margins: Community contributions to reducing vulnerability to extreme heat

By Anne-Marie D’Amours, Étienne Poulin and Sophie L. Van Neste
Heat waves are a growing threat to cities, but one that weighs much more heavily on certain vulnerable segments of the population. And yet, some of the less traditional players in the field of adaptation are contributing, directly or indirectly, to reducing such social vulnerabilities and mitigating certain socio-environmental inequalities through care and social support practices. Although Montreal is distinguished by its dynamic community and associative milieu, the potential contribution of this sector to heat wave adaptation remains poorly understood.

Montreal’s green alleyways: Spatial disparities and variations

By Thi-Thanh-Hiên Pham, Ugo Lachapelle, Basile Mangiante et Alexandre Rocheleau
Green alley programs, increasingly promoted by cities across North America, generally aim to transform alleyways into green infrastructure, providing more ecosystem services, improving road safety and enabling ownership by local residents. In Montreal, they are more present in medium- to high-density, middle-income areas, with more young people and lower percentages of couples with children. They are less present in neighborhoods with more recent immigrants and visible minorities.

Sustainable housing and electric mobility programs in Quebec: Toward a trajectory of urban sprawl and growing socioeconomic inequalities

By Guillaume Lessard
Two major challenges to sustainable urbanization in North America are the environmental, social and economic impacts of urban sprawl, and the growing socio-economic inequalities associated with housing and mobility. Several government policies and programs address these issues. However, depending on how they are implemented, interventions in these sectors can lead to the reinforcement of structural and cultural barriers specific to urban sprawl, as well as the exacerbation of pre-existing socio-economic inequalities.

For a just and feminist ecological transition in Montreal

By Naomie Léonard, Hélène Madénian and Gabrielle Perras St-Jean
As part of its fight against climate change, taking gender into account from an intersectional perspective would enable the City of Montreal to avoid certain pitfalls, such as reproducing sexist biases and stereotypes, and exacerbating inequalities between genders and between women themselves. This text is a summary of the research that led to the publication of the Avis du Conseil des Montréalaises pour une transition écologique juste et féministe à Montréal November 2, 2022.

The state of knowledge on inequality associated with climate change adaptation solutions

By Émily Després
Faced with the impacts of climate change, a number of actors are already actively implementing adaptation solutions. However, a number of recent studies tend to show that there is a risk that some of these solutions will lead to maladaptation and cause or exacerbate socio-economic inequalities. Studies of the impacts associated with these initiatives have received little attention. As a result, the negative impacts identified are rarely considered.

Climate change and social inequalities in health: The case of urban environments in Quebec

By Léa Ilardo
Social inequalities amplify the impacts of climate change on the health of certain urban populations in Quebec and Canada. This is demonstrated using the example of impacts linked to heat waves and air pollution, which primarily affect communities that are already vulnerable, either because they are already affected by other illnesses, or because they have a disadvantaged socio-economic status. This reality must be taken into account when developing measures to combat and adapt to climate change, so as not to widen the gap in social inequality.