"The fight for sustainable development will either be lost or won in cities"
(Dr Joan Clos, Under Secretary General of UNO and Executive Director of UN Habitat)


L’Observatoire Ivanhoé Cambridge du développement urbain et immobilier was created in 2006 through an agreement between the Société Ivanhoé Cambridge1 (Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec) and the Université de Montreal’s Faculty of Environmental Design (or Faculté de l’aménagement for its name in French). The Observatoire Ivanhoé Cambridge’s primary mission is to encourage applied research in the political, economic and environmental dimensions of urban development and real estate. The Observatoire Ivanhoé Cambridge supports research in developed countries as well as emerging economies. All of its work fits within the sustainable development paradigm.

Constructing the sustainable city involves two main objectives: ensuring a global presence and power in the international urban network of cities, and providing a viable, liveable and equitable living environment for inhabitants. In essence:

  • Cities act as economic and cultural “transformers” at the global scale. National and international trade would be impossible without cities. Cities tend to become metropolises and their development needs to be supported through major urban projects and major facilities. Cities need to be in harmony with the innovations of their competing cities, all the while strengthening their unique identities through the legacy of their own unique heritage.
  • Cities need to ensure a good quality of life for the people that inhabit, work in, develop, and economically, and culturally enrich them. Cities need to encourage the welcoming and flourishing of their inhabitants by both creating a sustainable environment and by mitigating different kinds of risks. Today, citizens are recognized as experts in their own daily lives and therefore are involved in all scales of decision-making and governance of their cities.

The Observatoire Ivanhoé Cambridge concentrates on studies having to do with the development of 21st century cities through a series of broad topics concerning urban development and real estate:

  • Rebuilding cities
  • Major urban projects and promoting cities
  • Local and global scales of governance
  • Sustainable urban sustainability issues in the North and South
  • Future urban issues


1) The agreement was signed in 2006 with the SITQ, a subsidiary of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, which merged with the société Ivanhoé Cambridge in 2011, another subsidiary of the Caisse.

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