As part of the revitalization of Montreal's Centre-Sud, part of the Montreal borough of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, officials gave the Quartier des lumières project a green light earlier this summer. Today, Lemay and Groupe MACH, the developers behind the project, announced that the Quartier des lumières will be the first-ever Fitwel Certified community in Canada. 

The future Quartier des lumières will feature a "total neighbourhood approach" as per Fitwel standards, according to Christopher Sweetnam Holmes, Vice President of Real Estate Development at MACH.

Fitwel considers seven tenets under its approach: "increasing physical activity, promoting occupant safety, reducing illness and absenteeism, promoting social equity for vulnerable populations, fostering feelings of well-being and improving community health and access to healthy food."

The Quartier des lumières will feature an urban framework of an over 56,000 square-foot park, public squares, a network of green alleys, access to public transportation, electric vehicle charging stations, and most crucially, over 1,000 social and affordable housing units for students, young families, and seniors alike. 

The Quartier des lumières will be the first neighbourhood of its kind in Canada and is scheduled to break ground in 2020. 

Along with over 1,000 affordable social housing units, the development will also have office spaces, retail and a public school. As per Fitwel standards, the neighbourhood will be as self-sufficient as possible and cater to "a diversified clientele that will include students, young couples and families, as well as single and retired people." 

Planners promise to integrate the area's working-class roots into the project and accentuate the architectural features of the borough. 

Social housing and lack thereof has been a hot topic in Montreal over the past few years. Though apartments are abundant (in some neighbourhoods), the growing scarcity of affordable housing in the face of increasing population and gentrification is causing alarm. 

In fact, between 2005 and 2017, "24,724 new units were built in Ville-Marie, compared to only 942 social and community housing units." 

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The project will also bring a huge amount of green space and public areas that will contribute to the well-being of those living in the Quartier and everyone in the Centre-Sud neighbourhood. 

A planned "urban oasis" in the heart of the Quartier will feature an over 56,000 square-foot public park and a large public square. Shared spaces, as well as pedestrian alleys and green alleys, will criss-cross the Quartier. 

There will also be plenty of cycling lanes and pedestrian connections along with an "active transportation" design that will significantly reduce car speeds through the neighbourhood and discourage truck traffic. 

According to developers, "the goal is to create a safe and peaceful place that builds community trust, social connections, and civic involvement."

Quartier des lumières will break ground in 2020. We'll bring you the latest updates as they're released. 

To find out more about the project, please visit the Quartier des lumières's official website

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