May 15, 2017
by Canadian Architect
Alan DeSousa. Photo courtesy of Borough of Saint-Laurent.
Alan DeSousa has been mayor of the Borough of Saint-Laurent in the City of Montreal since 2002 and a municipal politician since 1990. He is a member of the council of the Montreal Metropolitan Community, which represents 82 municipalities.
In his municipal roles, DeSousa has made significant contributions to enhancing the built environment in Greater Montreal and across Quebec. His advocacy for sustainable, quality environments has led to the construction of high-performance buildings and the creation of municipal tools that guide the region’s environmentally forward development.
For example, Montreal’s 2006 official designation as a UNESCO City of Design comes out of public policy documents that set design as a municipal priority. DeSousa played a leading role in the development and adoption of those documents. Economic Development Strategy 2005-2010defined design as a driver of economic growth, while the action plan Montreal: City of Design/Design of a City proposed steps such as design competitions for major public buildings.
Rendering of the planned Éco-campus Hubert-Reeve in DeSousa’s home borough. Photo: Borough of Saint-Laurent
From 2001 to 2012, DeSousa served on the Executive Committee of the City of Montreal, where he held positions including Vice-Chair of Economic Development and Sustainable Development. In 2009, he tabled a policy that set a minimum standard of LEED Gold certification for new municipally backed buildings on the Island of Montreal. To date, 60 city buildings are certified or on-track for certification. In April 2015, DeSousa spearheaded a zoning bylaw amendment to include living roofs, reflective roofing membranes, and other sustainable cladding materials in the building code.
DeSousa championed transit-oriented development, LEED Silver certification and strict design guidelines for the Bois-Franc urban redevelopment project of the 1990s in Saint-Laurent. Under his leadership, the Borough of Saint-Laurent revised municipal regulations and set guide-lines to preserve the heritage qualities of wartime houses in the Norvick neighbourhood; put in place plans to create a clean technologies campus, the Éco-campus Hubert-Reeve; and has expressed support for a Quebec Architecture Policy.
DeSousa’s influence will have a lasting impact on the quality of the built environment of Saint-Laurent, Montreal, and other municipalities, creating a legacy for generations to come.
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DeSousa’s work reflects a creative and effective use of the role of government in support of architecture. He is a politician who has, through-out his career, demonstrated his commitment to developing public policies to preserve the interest and authenticity of his borough’s heritage with a view to protecting the architectural quality of the built environment. This is real advocacy that has resulted in community transformation
View of the Bois-Franc residential development in Saint-Laurent. Photo: Borough of Saint-Laurent
The Bois-Franc district surrounds the De la Brunante Basin. Photo: Borough of Saint-Laurent