Viewpoint: Why a Hipster, Vegan, Green Tech Economy Is Not Sustainable
By Vijay Kolinjivadi
On the western borderlands of Montreal’s well-to-do Outremont district and the ultra-hipsterised and gentrified Mile End lies an expanse of land where the University of Montreal is currently building a new science campus. Just across is Parc-Extension, one of Canada’s poorest and most densely populated neighbourhoods and a port of call for many newly arrived immigrants.
The new campus has been touted as a model of “sustainable development”. It boasts LEED-certified buildings to reduce environmental impact, rainwater collection structures, energy-efficient lighting and heat recycling, infrastructure for electric vehicles and bikes, lots of greenery, and overall, a minimal carbon footprint. A number of tech companies, including Microsoft’s new AI Hub, are moving in and are expected to further enhance the “eco-efficiency” of the area.
The unspoken expectation is that once the green new campus is completed, capital and economic growth will naturally flow into the area. This means nearby neighbourhoods will get “revitalised”, especially the poorer ones, like Parc-Extension.
Photo courtesy of Billie Yadi.