2023-2025 – Jean-Pierre Chupin, Carmela Cucuzzella and Bechara Helal sign a research agreement with the Ville de Montréal for the project: “Living quality every day: Protocol for investigating and qualitatively assessing the social value of public buildings by collecting user experiences.” Bureau du design. Research agreement. Funding agency: Ville de Montréal ($65,000)

This proposal is part of the Quality Operation section of the City of Montreal’s Quality Toolkit. In particular, it addresses the strategies of sustainability, reframing and communication. Sustainability, in that the collection of real-life experience of quality is one of the guarantees of a good understanding of life cycles, and should be an integral part of quality monitoring plans. Their dissemination would contribute to better collective learning. As part of a reflexive approach, the collection of lived experience is a determining factor in reframing strategies. But it is also as a point of contact with lived reality in public buildings and places – as a mode of ongoing consultation – that the collection of lived experience should inform communication strategies.

The Quality Toolkit is an excellent exercise in mapping the ins and outs of the quality of built environments, and places the City of Montreal at the forefront of municipal strategies in this field in the landscape of Canadian cities. As the organizer of a vast partnership research project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (2022-2027), we can already see how the City of Montreal’s proposals are inspiring other Canadian cities involved in our project.

Our research partnership is entitled Quality in Canada’s Built Environment: Roadmaps to Equity, Social Value and Sustainability (for more information, see This proposal would build bridges between national and municipal initiatives. By offering to develop a protocol for capturing positive real-life experiences of quality, our proposal is in line with the City of Montreal’s strategy of exemplarity, which is at the root of the Quality Toolkit, and is intended to link up with thinking at the Canadian level. Finally, this project is in line with the logic established by the Politique nationale de l’architecture et de l’aménagement du territoire (Mieux habiter et bâtir notre territoire) unveiled on June 6, 2023 by the Quebec government. It takes note of the eleven guiding principles and “6 conditions favoring architectural quality” formulated in the aide-mémoire “Pour une architecture humaine, durable et créative.”

In public environments, we start from the premise that quality is conceived and built, but above all that quality is shared, and that it is now essential to encourage a broader debate on quality. The aim is to promote the broadest possible understanding of the determinants of quality, with a view to answering the following question: how can we increase the ability of the diversity of users of municipal public buildings to see, express and better understand what defines the quality of built environments in Montreal, by inviting them to share positive experiences of quality?