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 the 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 authorities 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 Center for Sustainable Development.
Some of the organizations involved in the consultation
- Société de développement social de Ville-Marie
- Center for Sustainable Development
- Pôle d’innovation urbaine de Montréal
- Table de quartier du Faubourg Saint Laurent
- Destination Centre-ville
- Partenariat Climat Montréal
- St. Patrick Parish Fabrique
- Carrefour Jeunesse Emploi centre-ville
- Women’s Y
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.
- Job insertion programs, in cooperation with the Carrefour jeunesse emploi centre-ville
- Collaboration with the Women’s Y to promote inclusion of women excluded from the labour market
- Development of hands-on training, in cooperation with the Center for Sustainable Development
“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, Coordinator – Sustainable Development, HEC Montréal
In addition to these initial actions, the school began rolling out a program in late 2022. HEC Montréal wants to be a key partner for the community and to help create an engaging and enriching neighbourhood life. In particular, this initiative consists of:
- Partners sharing the Base entrepreneuriale coworking 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 and fitness room, outdoor spaces)
- Experimenting with innovative practices with local and municipal partners, such as participatory planning and creating a resilience centre
- Sharing information or fighting and adapting to climate change, and concrete steps to support resilience