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Stories of Place: Urban Community and Contested Space in Montreal's Cabot Square


Stories of Place: Urban Community and Contested Space in Montreal's Cabot Square

Breitkreutz, Sara (2014) Stories of Place: Urban Community and Contested Space in Montreal's Cabot Square. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

Text (application/pdf)
Breitkreutz_MA_F2014.pdf - Accepted Version


Cabot Square is a public space in west downtown Montreal. The Square has long been the site of controversy, as it is both a neighbourhood park and a gathering place for people experiencing various forms of homelessness and socio-economic marginalization. In 2008, the City of Montreal's Ville-Marie Borough released an urban planning document called the PPU Quartier des Grands Jardins (Arrondissement 2008), which included provisions to revitalize the Square, along with plans to build a set of condominiums across the street, carried out in 2012. The revitalization of the Square was initiated subsequently in 2014. Fieldwork was conducted between 2012 and 2014 in Cabot Square and the surrounding area in order to understand the ways in which the Square functions as a gathering place, and to learn from the experiences of people who spend time there, as well as the outreach workers and community organizers who support them. Theorizing space and place according to the work of Casey (1997), Massey (1994; 2005), and Ingold (2009; 2011), this thesis tells a story of Cabot Square as a gathering place with processual, relational, and political dimensions. Place is presented as an emergent human experience generated by paths of wayfaring and practices of relationality, and contested by divergent claims to boundaries and belonging. This conceptual frame aligns itself closely with the ways Cabot Square is experienced by those who linger in it, but differs from the view taken by urban planners and city employees who have been involved in the PPU Quartier des Grands Jardins. The argument of this thesis is that different conceptions of place affect the ways spaces are designed, used, regulated, and experienced, and that consideration of the processual, relational, and political aspects of place might inspire more sustainable and equitable urban development projects in the future.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Sociology and Anthropology
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Breitkreutz, Sara
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Social and Cultural Anthropology
Date:15 September 2014
Thesis Supervisor(s):Watson, Mark
ID Code:979037
Deposited On:07 Nov 2014 16:58
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:48
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