Industrialization and Built Environment


Students in this class will be introduced to the history of industrialization in Montreal through the built environment of one of its oldest working-class districts: Pointe Saint-Charles, or “The Point.” The Point is a rich landscape for anyone interested in industrialization, deindustrialization, and the politics of post-industrial space. Its buildings, former and existing factories, railway yards and infrastructure, public spaces – even its stop signs – tell a story of class-based struggle, community activism, and neighbourhood place-making.

Our group visits to and on-site mapping projects in the Point will be the basis for shared understanding of the Point’s vernacular architecture, urban morphology, and recent gentrification. Through the co-teaching initiative, we will also have access to use site-specific primary resources archived by the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling, under the direction of Dr High.

For their major project each student will create an “urban intervention” that will draw out PSC’s historical depth while connecting with present-day spatial politics. In other words, students will learn with the Point’s architectural history; they will collaborate with a particular site within the neighbourhood, and find a creative way to share that site’s past and present issues with a broader public. In this way, each student will contribute to a collective work about the spatial politics of the Point, in which the powerful intersections between past and present are made visible, audible, and palpable.