At a Glance


  • Environmental science

Instructional Level

  • College & CEGEP
  • University


  • Advanced Topics and/or Research in Environmental Studies

Tasks in Workflow

Social Plane(s)

  • Individual
  • Group
  • Whole Class

Type of Tasks

  • Collecting & seeking information
  • Discussing
  • Analyzing
  • Reviewing & assessing peers
  • Creating & designing
  • Revising & improving
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Presenting

Technical Details

Class size

  • Small (20-49)


  • Multiple class periods (2-3 classes)

Instructional Purpose

  • Preparation & knowledge activation
  • Application & knowledge building


In this activity, students learn to properly define sustainability and apply this to the context of Montreal and then more narrow in scope to a single neighborhood. 

After reading Montreal’s 10 objectives in their 2016-2020 sustainability plan, students act as the mayor to their chosen neighborhoods and research the socio-dynamics of the area in order to come up with their 10 objectives. They are then asked to peer review the plans of other groups and address feedback they were given. 

The instructor then gives the students the actual sustainability plan for the neighborhood and students are asked to discuss and write a report on the similarities, differences, weaknesses, and strengths between the two plans. 

Instructional Objectives

  • To familiarize the students with the topics and problems within environmental studies. 
  • To learn to apply the ideas of sustainability to their local context. 

Workflow & Materials


Activity Workflow

View on CourseFlow

Contributor's Notes

  • Students get a real example of what policy development looks like and a broad array of topics within sustainable development planning 
  • Students are encouraged to look at feasibility when comparing their (often more ambitious) plans to the actual ones 
  • The stage of peer reviewing gives students a better chance to learn new ideas to tackle problems as well as understanding why certain solutions work in one neighborhood and not others 
  • The activity allows students to apply the theory learned in class encouraging them to engage more critically with the material 
  • Helping students find the right information on what is happening in their selected borough requires multiple sources and an ability to find the right information from them. 
  • Students may find it difficult to generate solutions for all 10 benchmarks for their boroughs. 
  • In order to better mitigate group work give a confidential peer review at the end of the exercise  
  • Make sure to give the students a time limitation in order to make sure that things get done on time 
  • Pick the plans for the neighborhoods well to give them something to compare with 
  • Keep the scale they are looking at smaller – not city wide 


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