Originally posted: June 2015
The following is a culmination of the student comments from the their travels to Québec as part of the URBDP 498 course. These comments illustrate the value of the field course to the understanding and future research and careers of the participating students.
“Taking this class provided a wonderful opportunity to get to know the history and culture of Québec. By traveling to the three cities [Québec City, Montréal and Ottawa] and hearing the different perspectives, really illustrated Canada’s diversity. The rich culture and appreciation for its history was refreshing. With Canada being our neighbor, I think I take for granted what amazing cities lay just across the border.” – Elena Nicole Bertolucci, Geography Major“Over all this trip was extremely informative. I learned about how our histories [Québec and the United States] actually have a lot more in common than I thought. Having seen some of the ways of planning for the community I think we could possibly learn a bit from Québec on the ways that the social aspects have been met. In the United States often the social needs are not seen as very well met. Seeing many different sites through out Québec I got to see many different ways that the planning had considered social aspects.” – Dominique Elise Alviar, Bachelor of Landscape Architecture
“The field trip to Québec was a really enjoyable and informative experience. One aspect that stands out the strongest is the unique quality of Québec as an established French territory in early American history. From a contemporary perspective, it contains a hybrid-like quality that is both European influenced and North American as well … My experience in Canada will now further contribute to my larger conceptions of space and culture.” – Rebecca Christy, Master of Landscape Architecture
“I was amazed by the depth of the socio-economic and historical aspects of our conversations and lessons in Québec. It was very enlightening to learn about the unique circumstances that shaped Québec’s society and identity and how these forces played out in Montréal and Québec City and the region’s relationship with Ottawa and Canada. It was also incredibly informative to gain insight into how these issues have worked to shape the planning culture and policy in Québec’s cities and how that has in turn had an impact of those cities urban form. The trip exceeded all of my expectations, both personal and academic and will leave a lasting impact in how I approach issues of Urban Design. I had a fantastic learning experience and I would encourage more American students to visit the region and to study the things that make Québec what it is today.” – Eric Hanna, Master of Architecture“Our tour of Montréal, Ottawa, and Québec City was a wonderful introduction to the rich culture and storied built environment of Québec. My understanding of the creation of housing and the processes of city development was greatly enhanced by the ability to experience each city first-hand and talk to people who study, work with, and are invested in these processes. As a Master student of Architecture with interest in urban planning and development, I understand that city design and development is a complicated topic especially in a place that so vividly remembers the complex socio-political voices that played and continue to play a part in its current state. Because of the tour, I better understand these influences in Québec than I would just reading about them, and can apply this learning in a comparative way to my understanding of the built environment as a whole.” – Emily Darling, Master of Architecture
“For me and my fellow classmates this was a rare and special opportunity to visit Québec and to have professors touring and teaching us valuable insights. I would also like to thank the Government of Québec for providing scholarships for this trip. This trip traveling to Montréal, Québec City, and Ottawa was interesting. Québec is a unique region of the world and North America. Even I knew Québec is mainly French speaking, I never expected the scale of French cultural influence among the entire society and its differences from the English-speaking community. I learned plenty in observing and learning from professors on many urban public spaces, flex housing, low-income housing, co-op housing, and tensions and history of the French community. I also learned about what the municipal and provincial governments in Québec and Canada have done to create better communities. Thank you to all professors who give their time to talk about their own cities, we received incredible insights and explanations on the urban planning of each city. For my future I would like to study more on improving the quality of living and sustainability through civil engineering and urban planning, and bring this back to my community.” – Bryan Lok Hin Lee, Bachelor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
See photos from their trip here.“Not only did we have opportunity to travel through Montréal, Québec City and Ottawa, but we were given the history and politics of those cities. With each guest speaker another layer was revealed from historic divisions to social structure. We dove into the culture that is the Québec province. As for me, my personal goal of this trip was to become better acquainted with some of the public spaces but also to interact with the city as much as possible. I did not want to be a tourist and thus, I spent much of my free time just walking, sitting and waiting. There was a method to this practice, for when I camouflage myself into the background of the space; I felt that the real Québec revealed herself. Mothers walked with their children, men sat at bars and women listened to gossip from the day before. These interactions and little movements are what make cities so great. This sort of choreographed dance between people and places are unique and I’m so thankful I got to see Québec’s performance.” – Ekaterina Nazarova, Bachelor of Landscape Architecture