June 1, 2006
by Canadian Architect
Edited by Philippe Poullaouec-Gonidec, Grald Domon and Sylvain Paquette. Montreal: Les Presses de l’Universit de Montral, 2006.
Paysages en perspectives comprises a series of informative and well-documented essays exploring the diversity of issues affecting the 21st-century Quebec landscape–one that is extremely self-aware of its regional differences as well as the omnipresent rural-urban dynamic frictions that have created a unique brand of urbanism found nowhere else in the country. Coming from a variety of backgrounds that include such areas of expertise as transportation, heritage, environmental design, tourism, waterfront development and landscape urbanism, the essayists are mostly affiliated with the University of Montreal. The book is divided into three main sections: landscape and regional resources; infrastructure; and issues pertaining to sprawl and the preservation and promotion of public space within urbanized contexts. For those who are unaware of Quebec’s raison d’tre, this book will provide thought- provoking insight into what was until the 1960s, a predominantly rural society that saw its cultural heritage and urbanized areas dramatically change as the effects of hydroelectric dams, shifting agricultural policies and natural-resource exploitation practices left their mark on the province’s physical landscape. The book also explores the range of factors that have influenced the development and enactment of various land-use management techniques which have made the province what it is today. Similar to other provinces in Canada, Quebec’s urbanized areas generally face an “infrastructure deficit” whereby roads, electrical grids and appropriate planning practices are in dire need of updating to reflect the social, cultural and heritage issues that transcend the need for economic expediency. Paysages en perspectives draws together these many facets of contemporary society by documenting and mapping some recent trends ranging from population densities to the preservation of farmland, and from small town and cultural heritage preservation to the amalgamation of municipalities.