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New building in the downtown business district


HEC Montréal has sought to integrate itself into the neighbourhood right from the start of its development downtown, in particular by involving the neighbourhood and the local community in the design of its new building. It is continuing this approach with the goal of making this an inclusive and welcoming forum for dialogue.

Already a well-integrated presence

The design of the Hélène Desmarais Building included a series of meetings with neighbours and the local community.

  • Collaboration with the St. Patrick Parish Fabrique
  • Discussions with neighbours (from 2016 to 2021)
  • Co-design workshop (January 2017)
  • Consultations with different instances and experts

Sustainable in our building… and in our hearts

HEC Montréal asked one of its professional teams to work with the community to define a strategic project, with the goal of making the new building a forum for dialogue on the topic of sustainability. This led to a broader consultation involving about a dozen community stakeholders from the Faubourg Saint-Laurent neighbourhood, working closely with the Centre for Sustainable Development.

Plans for the present and future

This consultative approach helped us clearly define the different social issues in the neighbourhood and jointly develop short-term initiatives in order to revitalize some vulnerable sectors.

Some examples:

  • Labour market insertion projects, in co-operation with the Carrefour jeunesse emploi centre-ville
  • Collaboration with the Women’s Y to promote inclusion of women out of the labour market
  • Development of experiential training, in co-operation with Centre for Sustainable Development
Nadia Ponce Morales

“We wanted to create an initiative with and for the community, so we talked with potential partners about ways to use our strengths and bring about positive and lasting change in our new neighbourhood.”

Nadia Ponce Morales, , Co-ordinator – Sustainable Development, H HEC Montréal

Longer-term programs

In addition to these initial actions, a program will be rolled out starting in 2022. HEC Montréal wants to be a key partner for the community and contribute to engaging and enriching neighbourhood life. In particular, this initiative consists of:

  • Partners sharing the Base entrepreneuriale co-working space, to develop new projects with the HEC Montréal community
  • Pursuing community consultations and co-design workshops, with the goal of holding outdoor activities and using the site as a space for socializing and sharing knowledge
  • Integrating sustainable development principles in different parts of the building (e.g.: wellness room, outdoor spaces)
  • Experimenting with innovative practices with local and municipal partners: collaborative urban planning, creating a resilience centre, etc.
  • Sharing information on fighting and adapting to climate change, and concrete steps to encourage resilience
Photos of the worksite

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New building in the downtown business district > Community