Montréal’s Roots: Exploring the Growth of Montréal’s Indoor City

Ahmed El-Geneidy, Lisa Kastelberger, Hatem T. Abdelhamid


Indoor pedestrian pathways are increasingly common in cities
worldwide. Montréal’s Indoor City is one of the most expansive indoor
pedestrian networks in the world, extending for more than 32
kilometers (19.88 miles) and covering an area of twelve square
kilometers (4.6 square miles) in the city’s downtown. The benefits
associated with the growth of Montréal’s indoor network are numerous,
including: improved access throughout the downtown; shorter pedestrian
walking distances; year-round climate protection; and increased
amounts of public spaces. The research described in this paper
examines the historical growth of Montréal’s Indoor City, with the aim
of exploring the factors that caused its rapid growth. Specifically,
changes in pedestrian access to retail space over time are modeled in
a geographic information system to highlight major phases in the
growth of the network. This research develops a theoretical framework,
constructs a comprehensive time sequence describing the growth of the
Indoor City’s pedestrian network, and interprets the results to convey the lessons learned from Montréal’s planning policies towards the Indoor City. The results of this research suggest that a series of plans and administrative policies adopted by the City of Montréal over the past 45 years have had a significant impact on the growth of the Indoor City. At the same time, it is also clear that access to retail and public transit (especially the underground metro lines), as well
as a loophole in the Montréal legislative system, have had significant
effects on the growth of the Indoor City.


Accessibility, Pedestrian, Indoor City, Underground, Retail

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