CoLLaboratoire: Activating Ecological Knowledge through Community Design Experiments


Carmela Cucuzzella (Concordia University, Montreal, CA), Jean-Pierre Chupin (University of Montreal, Montreal, CA), Sherif Goubran (Concordia University, Montreal, CA). /





This paper introduces a new research initiative called CoLLaboratoire, a community embedded project with the goal of realizing a series of art-architecture installations that communicate some critical theme of sustainable living in the city. This project links together academics, students, community, and business leaders to address sustainability challenges together. It therefore serves as a medium for transdisciplinary scientific research requiring citizen-engagement while also creating a measurable impact with regards to sustainable living.

The goal of this initiative is to stimulate Montreal’s collective intelligence by recovering memories of place and environment while serving as a model project of a sustainable city. CoLLaboratoire has adopted the urban corridor of Sherbrooke Street, a street that runs 31km from east to west in the city of Montreal, Canada. This research project has been adopted as an organizing principle for these urban installations, where each public art piece will have its own story. The resulting narrative from the collection of installations along the length of Sherbrooke Street will be at once, educational, interactive and experiential. The intent is to foster public awareness of natural systems and resilient urban infrastructures through community engagement, both during the design process and during the use of the public artwork after it has been installed. This may have the benefit of invigorating life in the city while addressing pressing problems of today. By using one of the city’s main east- west axis we can disseminate the idea of context-specific sustainable living throughout the various communities.

In this paper, we will present our first design challenge/experiment in Montreal, in terms of its process, its outcome and our analysis. This project’s main research questions are: What type of art-based installations can help heighten community awareness to issues, questions, or solutions regarding climate change? How can participation in the design of these art installations contribute to a deeper understanding and embodiment of sustainable practices for participants in the long term?



Sustainable neighbourhood; Design process; Community empowerment


CoLLaboratoire: Activating Ecological Knowledge through Community Design Experiments

Balance-Unbalance 2017

Balance-Unbalance (BunB)
is an International Conference designed to use art as a catalyst to explore intersections between NATURE, SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY and SOCIETY as we move into an era of both unprecedented ecological threats and transdisciplinary possibilities.

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