Tag Archives: safety audit walk

Neighbours without borders!

10 Oct

While surfing the Montreal cultural agenda for 2012, the My City, My Safety team decided the Journées de la culture event would be a good opportunity to encourage the young women of  F.A.C.E high-school to put into practice their animation skills, their knowledge on development safer and more inclusive cities once more!

This is how, in collaboration with Conscience Urbaine’s Exec Director, (For making the link between art, urbanism, architecture and reclaiming the city), Fanie St-Michel, we decided to lead a « reinterpreted » women’s safety audit walk around the themes of safety, accessibility, and the train track. The train track which makes moving around the Plateau and Rosemont boroughs pretty complicated..

The idea was for the girls to lead a discussion around how the urban environment influences how easily we move around the city, the potential obstacles to their participation to urban life, their feelings of security and inclusion.

Le long de la voix ferrée qui séparent les deux quartiers, les filles de FACE montrent aux participant(e)s comment la voix cyclable qui longe celle-ci n'est pas sécuritaire pour une fille: le manque de lumière, d'entretien et de sorties possible, en fait un lieu à haut risque

Here we are, on the bike path which runs alongside the train tracks that divide both neighbourhoods.  The girls are explaining to other participants how the path is not safe for young womenL the lack of lighting, maintenance, and possible escape routes make it a risky area.

During the walk, we asked participants to fill out a checklist to catalog the different problems relating to access and layout of the train track. We took many pictures, and asked everyone to draw what a perfect level-crossing would look like (and if they had control over the City of Montreal’s purse strings 😉

Draw me a level-crossing…

We are hoping to use the pictures, drawings and testimonials gathered during the activity to continue sensitizing citizens and their elected officials to the importance of conceiving safe, accessible, and inclusive cities, for women, girls, and everyone!

The girls asked participants to take a piece of paper with a different identity on it, before walking across the Papineau viaduct, and to discuss their experience through the eyes of their character…

The Papineau viaduct: (in)accessible? (un)safe?
One of the many illegal holes cut out along the CP railway, a testimonial to the frustration of Plateau and Rosemont citizens because of the forced break between both neighbourhoods 

My City, My Safety and the Girls Action Foundation celebrate Valentine’s Day

21 Fév

Last Tuesday, for Valentine’s day, F.A.C.E participants and My City, My Safety! were selected to participate in the Girls’ Action Foundation National Day of Action. For the 8th consecutive year, the Girls Action Foundation is « flipping the script on sending chocolate and shining light on girls and young women who are making an impact in their communities instead ». The first step has been to contribute to the collective love letter with a Vox pop video, expressing why they are participating in this initiative. The video is available on the blog.

For the actual day of action to work within the context of My City, My Safety!, we began by having lunch at Women in Cities International’s partner’s offices, Action femmes handicapées Montréal, with whom a project had been conducted to shed light on the obstacles women with a handicap face in Montreal.

Lunch was served by the Maison Benedict Labre which accomodates homeless men and women in Griffintown. The goal of this lunchtime discussion was to demystify homelessness and to create a dialogue, since the presence of homeless people, especially in metro stations, had been flagged by girls and women as a factor of insecurity during safety audit walks.

Bruno and Richard, two ex homeless men, candidly answered the questions the girls had prepared. It was interesting for everyone present to hear Richard’s stories of street life insecurity, and his passion for long walks along the Canal Lachine with his dog. As for Bruno, he spoke in great length about his love/hate relationship with Montreal Police: A necessary evil, when it comes to homeless men’s perception.

Two representatives from the Conseil jeunesse Montréal and Projet Montreal came as observers, to express their support for the project and for the engagement of young citizens in the development of their city.

We then went to grab a bite on Saint Denis Street, to rest a bit before going on the next leg of the day of action. The girls taught us how to play Contact, a highly addictive word game!

Fully rested and with full bellies, we went back out into the cold for an evening safety audit walk along de Maisonneuve Boulevard, into the Emilie Gamelin Parc, and finally on Saint Catherine street all the way to the Beaudry metro station.

Clearly, the girls have become much more sensitive to the urban environment surrounding them. From dark hidden corners, to parks filled with fun installations yet made inaccessible by ice, to inspirational quotes hanging off streetlights, nothing escaped their scrutiny! It looks like we are witnessing the rise of a new generation of young urban development activists…

One of the many staircases along Maisonneuve where homeless people seek refuge, but also where drug use is rampant

Fun light and sound installation at Émilie Gamelin Park, but innaccessible due to ice...

A good lighting example on Saint Catherine Street, with fun quotations hanging off street lamps.

Light installation the girls really liked at the corner of Amherst and Saint Catherine

XXX film screening shops

An annotated map from the safety audit


Temporary installation at the Park

Expo: artists and homelessness in Émilie Gamelin Park

Graffiti boulevard Maisonneuve on the Judith Jasmin building

How an inspirational murale can liven up a "blind wall" at the intersection of Amherst and Saint-Catherine Streets