UdM campus threatens housing and community in Park Extension, report says

Avleen K Mokha

Groups of people walk down a busy street in Park Extension. Photo: Vijay Kolinjivadi

A report released Wednesday, June 3, considers the negative impacts of Université de Montréal’s MIL campus on Park Extension. This report, published by Park Extension Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, comes just as the university welcomes Daniel Jutras as its new rector.

Risk of ‘studentification’

The report says the opening of the campus has already changed the housing market for the worse. More UdM students want to live in Park Extension, displacing families rooted in the neighbourhood.

“We have witnessed a rise in evictions, rent increases, and landlord harassment aiming to force tenants from their homes,” Darwish said.

A research team, led by a professor at UdM’s department of Geography, documents this impact.

Violaine Jolivet’s team studied 665 public listings to rent, posted online since April 2019. More than a third of the listings mentioned UdM or the MIL campus.

Good intentions, little action

Public messaging from UdM included a plan to develop student housing. However, the university has sold the land put aside for student housing to private developers.

Shazma Abdulla researches Social Policy and Planning at York University. She believes the absence of student residences worsens the housing crisis.

“The initial layout of the campus included student residences that would include between 800 and 1500 units,” Shazma Abdulla said. “We believe that UdM should take up this idea to limit its impact in Park Extension.”

Social responsibility

The first building on the MIL campus is home to four departments in the Faculty of Arts and Science.

The University plans to open two new wings in the coming years.

Norma Rantisi is a professor in Geography, Planning and Environment at Concordia University. She thinks UdM has a responsibility to reduce the harm caused to long term residents in its neighbourhood.

“Several universities have taken initiatives to recognize their own responsibility to society, by encouraging a better alignment of their activities with different community needs,” Rantisi said. “UdM can learn from these examples.”

Read more:

Click on the image to read the story.