Alexandre Maltais

Portrait of Alexandre Maltais

B.A. Environment, McGill University

M.A. Urban Planning, Université de Montréal

Ph.D. Urban Studies, Centre Urbanisation Culture Société at Institut national de la recherche scientifique

Urban planner by training, Alexandre Maltais’s research focuses on the production of socially important spaces - retail stores, residences, local institutions - as well as their appropriation by various populations - disadvantaged or middle-class households, sexual minorities. He completed in the Fall of 2017 a doctorate in urban studies in the context of a joint program with UQAM and INRS.  After being the liaison officer for the Research Partnership on transitioning neighborhoods (2012-2015), and researcher for the INRS for a project regarding social and economic transformation of the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighborhood (2016-2017), he is currently postdoctoral researcher FRQ-SC at the Ivanhoé-Cambridge Observatory of urban and real estate development of the School of Urban Planning and Landscape Architecture of the University of Montreal. 

His research project concerns Montreal's public markets, specifically their management and the role played by major public property halls in Montreal today. Daily social spaces, touristic development, and neighborhood gentrification vector, a showcase for niche food production, an incubator of commercial companies: this equipment is, indeed, more than a simple place of food provision, despite the fact that decisions regarding its management have, in the last decades, been essentially based on budgetary considerations. The curiosity which led to this project emerged during his doctoral research ("Commerce de détail et transformations socio-démographiques des quartiers centraux: le repositionnement du petit commerce montréalais", a forthcoming publication in the "Urban Studies" Collection of the Presses de l’Université Laval) which portrays the business sphere's transformation of two central neighborhoods in Montreal, whose commercial odder gravitates around a municipal public market. This old equipment has, in both cases, become the cutting edge of revitalization policies and promotion efforts of new specialized food businesses in the area. Moreover, the prevalence of food business in both neighborhoods has led his to partake in a symposium on alternative food channels (2016). Following this symposium, he was invited to publish some results of his research in a special issue of the Revue canadienne des études sur l'alimentation (Maltais 2017) ("Petits commerces de bouche et réseaux alimentaires alternatifs : un regard montréalais"). The closest question on the role played by these municipal property buildings in neighborhoods undergoing a socio-demographic transition was clarified after a research project financed by the Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighborhood of Montreal, which specifically aimed at identifying potential solutions to promote equity and affordability in this neighborhood's business development. In this contexte, using these buildings as showcases for niche food production has quickly become paradoxical, since affordable and quality food provision remains a preoccupation in a major part of the population. 

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