Practices and tactics in the public space of young northern Montrealers


30 May 2018

Montreal-Nord is a former suburb of small middle classes. The borough is today inhabited by a heterogeneous population, but immigrant populations, often relatively disadvantaged compared to the rest of Montreal, predominate in the northeastern part of the area.

This case study focuses on young people (girls and boys) in Montreal-Nord. We explore the spaces where they ” stroll”, both within and outside of the borough limits, and the ways in which their socio-spatial practices, despite being sometimes quite similar to practices taking place in public space in other boroughs, will here be deemed transgressive by institutions or some residents.

We are therefore interested in the tactics employed by young people to avoid this judgment on their use of public space and thus avoid being controlled by the police, but also by their families and social networks.

We are therefore not starting from the outset with the goal of describing the transgressive practices of young people, but rather seek to understand how the borough and its reputation influence the use of public space, in particular by questioning the omnipresent ban on “loitering”, which demonstrates how standing “outside” in public space is necessarily correlated with the idea of transgression.

The youth who will participate in the project will be individuals who are neither criminalized nor super-integrated. The idea is to recruit as many females as males and to diversify their origins in order to be able to analyse the processes of racisation and their impact on “tactics and practices” in the public arena. We will make sure to contact young people who settled in the area before the 2008-2009 revolts, as well as young people who arrived more recently.

We would like to be able to produce maps inspired by young people’s spatial tactics and strategies, without totally revealing them in order not to “deliver” their spaces or “betray” their trusts.

Evolving methodologies will begin (summer-fall 2018) with a historical review of the emergence of the “loitering” category in this neighbourhood, observations and testing of mapping methods for the places frequented (phase 1).

In a second phase (winter-fall 2019), we will recruit young people to participate in the research project and in the mapping workshops more specifically. Through these workshops, we also wish to explore young people’s use of social networks (snapchat or instagram) and the implementation of a video project (phase 2 and 3).

In parallel, we will monitor public interventions at certain sites, i.e. redevelopments and the organisation of festive events. We will ask young people to comment on these interventions as they develop, while following the evolution of their “loitering” trajectories throughout their development.

Click here to explore the webdocumentay made with youth of Montreal North

Click here to visit the interactive mapping of the neighborhood.

Click here for 2021 A4 format printable version and 8.5 x 11 format printable version.

Click here for 2020 A4 format printable version and 8.5 x 11 format printable version.

Click here for 2019 A4 format printable version and 8.5 x 11 format printable version.

Click to consult the web version of the case study summary sheet for the year 2018 and here for the printable version.