Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Urban Research

Territorial Planning Experimentation in Quebec

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Urban Research

Territorial Planning Experimentation in Quebec

Article excerpt


Over the last four decades, Quebec has experimented with different procedures for territorial planning, which have been largely concerned with the rational allocation of public resources while focussing strongly on a strategic framework. Each experiment generated interesting results in terra of classical contents that are presented and analysed in this paper. The separation in the planning process between strategists on one side, and actors on the other, has created perverse effects that must be corrected in order to better support development initiatives. The author proposes a more innovative form of planning for Quebec's territories, grounded in theory and also based on the experimentation of the last few decades.

Key words: vision; strategy; action; interaction; innovation; territorial planning; Quebec


Au cours des quatre dernieres decennies, le Quebec a experimente differentes procedures de planification territoriale. Exercices de planification largement concernes par l'allocation rationnelle des ressources publiques en ciblant fortement sur la dimension strategique. Comme l'illustre ce texte, chaque experience a genere des resultats interessants sous l'angle des contenus classiques. Si plusieurs lecons sont distillees par l'auteur, la separation distincte dans le processus de planification entre les strateges et les acteurs cause des effets pervers qui doivent etre corriges afin que la planification supporte davantage les initiatives de developpement.

L'auteur propose de considerer une forme de planification territoriale plus innovatrice, ancree dans la theorie bien sur mais aussi basee sur l'experience des dernieres decennies.

Mots des: vision; strategie; action; interaction; innovation; planification territoriale; Quebec


Of the various territories of Quebec occupied by human settlements, the Quebec City citadel, the Saint-Maurice forging mills, the shipyards and several seigneuries, as well as certain areas of colonial development in the Laurentides, were planned in early stages. The systematic exploitation of the watersheds of the Saguenay region in order to feed the Arvida industrial complex, including factories, city, port and railroad, represents a clear example of systematic planning for the production of aluminum. Other industrial towns were similarly planned, such as Lachine, Noranda, Asbestos, Murdochville and Fermont. There was also the famous Vautrin plan, concerned with the opening of new agro-forest parishes in the 1930s. After 1945, a certain number of operational plans for the implementation of infrastructure and public equipment were elaborated sporadically throughout the territories. Planning then guided the main interests of territorial public interventions. Thus, several cities were equipped with town-planning programs, where certain sites or zones also received planners' systematic attention. Since the 1960s, territorial planning has become widely and formally adopted, using procedures offered by the theory of planning.

The main question addressed in this paper relates to the effects generated by the formal use of planning procedures on the intra-national territories of Quebec. Despite some radical experiments, territorial planning has been largely concerned with the rational allocation of public resources. The contents of each experiment will be presented and analysed through theoretical components in outlining some relevant lessons. Future stakes for territorial planning will then be considered.

Forms of Territorial Planning

We can define territorial planning as being the addition of rationality to the collective decision-making on the intra-national scales of central State. The definitions presented in scientific works are obviously numerous while converging, in general, towards the traditional principle of "connection between knowledge and action" (Meyerson and Banfield 1955, 72). …

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