Rethinking the City in Times of Pandemic

A webinar series

In Montréal, as in many other large cities, the health crisis caused by COVID-19 is generating its share of organizational and social challenges. Given this context, rethinking urban space remains complex. What if the current upheavals represented an innovation opportunity for many local actors?

In an effort to address this issue, CIRM presents a brand new series of virtual conferences, co-hosted by Professors Magda Fahrni (CIRM / History, UQAM) and Daniel Weinstock (CIRM / Katharine A. Pearson Chair in Civil Society and Public Policy in the Faculties of Law and of Arts, McGill). By navigating between the past and the present, they will attempt to reflect globally on the impact of the pandemic on the city, its institutions, as well as on citizens and their living environment.

Rethinking the City in Times of Pandemic will include five virtual events. Everyone is welcome!

Video recordings of the webinars can be found on our Multimedia page.


RDV n°1 - Scientific Research: Adaptation for Better Reinvention?

October 2, 2020, 1:30 - 3:00 p.m.

How does the COVID-19 pandemic affect the scientific community? What are the new research opportunities created by the current crisis? Are we talking about permanent or temporary transformations, positive or negative?

The first meeting of this series is devoted to scientific research and more particularly to the possible transformations that this sector of activity will undergo. To do so, our two guest professors will look at this question from their own experience as well as that of their peers.

New objects of research, transformation and adaptation by the academic and broader scientific community are just some of the topics that will fuel this first discussion in our Rethinking the City in Times of Pandemic series.


RDV n°2 - A Century of Health Crises in Montreal

November 13, 2020, 1:30 - 3:00 p.m.

Can we benefit from past health crises to better understand and experience the current pandemic? What are the similarities between yesterday's health crises and today's?

The health crisis we are facing stresses the crucial importance of history in the understanding of contemporary phenomena. This second meeting of the series will be an opportunity to recount the major epidemics that Montreal has experienced over the past century: typhus, Spanish flu, and polio. For the occasion, Magda Fahrni and Daniel Weinstock welcome three former students who, through their respective research work, have analyzed these various health crises and their impact on Montreal society.

This event featured guests Sophie Doucet (Ph.D., UQAM), Maude Charest-Auger (Quebec Ministry of Public Security), and Valérie Poirier (Ph.D., UQAM).


RDV n°3 - The Northern City in Times of Pandemic

February 26, 2021, 1:30 - 3:00 p.m.

There is no doubt that the health crisis of the past year has accentuated vulnerabilities and inequities, particularly among the most disadvantaged urban populations. As the public health record shows the interconnectedness between every individual, an effective fight against the virus must involve all segments of the population. How can northern cities in wintry climates meet the multiple needs of their inhabitants in order to adapt to the health crisis? 

This event featured guests James Hughes (Old Brewery Mission), Véronique Fortin (U. de Sherbrooke), and Agatino Rizzo (Luleå U. of Technology).


RDV n°4 - New Light on Urban Nights

February 26, 2021, 1:30 - 3:00 p.m.

Urban nightlife has suffered greatly in the era of social distancing and curfew. Over the past year, many workers, artists and night owls have been forced to go home. The excitement of the night has given way to silence. Those who depend on the night for their livelihood are now deprived of their workspace and their audience. In some cases, their social and economic marginalization has only worsened. Montréal’s now silent nights are more than ever synonymous with apprehension and insecurity.

This fourth event of our Rethinking the City in Times of Pandemic series featured guests Nicolas Kenny (Simon Fraser U.), Jess Reia (CIRM / McGill), and Edda Bild (McGill).

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