First Advisor

Nathan McClintock

Date of Publication

Fall 12-2-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Urban Studies (M.U.S.)


Urban Studies and Planning




Urban agriculture -- Québec (Province) -- Montréal -- Citizen participation, Urban land use -- Québec (Province) -- Montréal



Physical Description

1 online resource (vi, 81 pages)


Urban Agriculture (UA) has been practiced in Montreal, Quebec for well over a century. In the last five years or so, a renewed enthusiasm for UA has manifested itself in the form of citizen-led UA projects. The latter are often established in residual spaces, from vacant lots to sidewalks, and alleyways. These more spontaneous and informal UA practices point to a shift in how urban inhabitants perceive and use urban space. Through a case study of informal UA projects in Montreal, QC, this work brings attention to the dynamics surrounding the establishment of citizen-led UA projects, paying special attention to their complex structure. Indeed, although they are usually initiated by groups of citizens, other actors are either directly or indirectly involved, including non-profit organizations, municipal officials, or business owners. To better understand these processes, I ask the following questions:

  • Why are citizens in Montreal reappropriating vacant and underused urban spaces for UA?
  • How are these spaces being established, and who is involved?
  • How might these spaces and the social relations forged within them, contribute--or not--to a democratic urban politics?

Bringing together existing scholarship on critical urban agriculture, radical democracy, and urban geography, this research exposes some of the inherent tensions present in contemporary UA. This work demonstrates that collective UA projects exist simultaneously as a political practice, and one that might not significantly alter the existing spatial and social orders.


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