Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments below, anytime between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time).
Ruelles Vertes in Rosemont/Petite-Patrie, Montréal (Part #1)
While walking around doorscursioning in my old ‘hood of Rosemont/Petite Patrie in last week’s post I made a point of checking out some of the neighbourhood’s increasingly popular Ruelles Vertes/Green Laneways.
What’s a Ruelle Verte?
A ruelle is what we call a laneway or back alley.
Generally a concrete or paved asphalt access lane behind rows of housing in between two parallel streets.
Built into the street grid of major cities all over North America, they were originally designed to provide access for utility companies such as phone, electricity, and cable, to keep unsightly power and phone lines off the streets, and also for residents’ parking garages.
I remember a time when even garbage pick-up was done through the back laneways.
Equipment has gotten much more reliable over the years and a large portion of it has been moved underground. This meant that utilities very rarely need to access these areas with repair trucks anymore, making these paved laneways more of an eyesore than a necessity.
With this in mind the city of Montréal launched their Ruelles Vertes or Green Laneways program in 1997.
The goal of the program is for resident neighbours who share a given laneway to come together to convert it from an urban eyesore and sometimes dumping ground, and take ownership by turning it into a greener, more livable, user-friendly space.
Studies have shown that converting to green laneways improves air quality in the immediate vicinity, and provides shade to help mitigate the heat absorbing effects of all that concrete and asphalt.
The program also encourages people to get to know and work with their neighbours; something that has been lost particularly in densely populated parts of big cities where people can go for years without even knowing the name of the person who lives right next door.
Financed through the city’s sustainable development budget, each conversion project must be brought forward by a volunteer committee made up of residents, and must be approved by a majority of the laneway’s residents before being implemented.
A project can be as simple as planting a few trees, fruit-bearing shrubs, or climbing vines, but residents are also encouraged to put out flower boxes, planting beds, shared gardens, or benches, paintings, and murals to beautify and the laneway and make it more green.
I’m happy to say that my old neighbourhood has one of the highest number of Ruelles Vertes in the city, and as someone who spent a good part of his childhood playing hockey, football, and yes even baseball in our laneway (don’t ask me how that turned out), making these spaces safer for kids to play is a very good thing.
And Madame Morin, about that wayward baseball that went through your kitchen window that one summer; it wasn’t me, it was Dave. I hope you can take some consolation from knowing that despite the incredible distance that ball flew off of his bat to make it all the way to your window, we called it a ground-rule double and not a home run 😉
If you’d like to see a bit more, here’s a quick little video slideshow from the city’s website:
To share your own Thursday Doors post just paste your link in the comments section below so that others can visit and have a look at your discoveries. Remember: you have until noon eastern North American time on Saturday to add your link.
As always, if you have the time, please take a few minutes to visit some of the Thursday Door posts shared by our other contributors.
Thank you for looking 🙂
Want to join in on the fun and share your own Thursday Doors post with other door lovers? Then simply add the link to your post in the comments section below.