Mapping of Organizations Involved in Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience at the Scale of the City of Montréal

Adaptation organizations now have an up-to-date portrait of the links between them, ready to be used to further their understanding of each other’s activities, to clarify their position for strategic planning purposes, and to identify allies and competitors as part of their regular activities.

Project details
Scientific program
2014-2019 programming
Theme(s) and priority(s)
Built Environment
Start and duration
May 2017 • March 2018
Project Status
Principal(s) investigator(s)
Marie-Christine Therrien


The adoption and implementation of reforms are most often the result of collaboration within networks of participants that transmit information, exchange ideas and create momentum for the adoption of solutions. Research shows that these networks play a central role in tackling complex problems, particularly in the field of the environment.

However, the scope, components, structure and operation of this network are often overlooked by those who are part of it and depend on it. However, to be more effective and achieve their objectives, organizations should benefit from a nuanced analysis of the condition of the networks in which they participate.



To profile the city of Montréal’s network of organizations involved in adaptation and the development of resilience in the face of climate change by analyzing the structure, the nature of the links as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the network in terms of coordination.


  • Delineation of the boundaries of the governance network for climate change adaptation and resilience at the scale of the city of Montréal

  • Development of a questionnaire on the structure and condition of the network in order to analyze the following factors, in particular: the role of ideas, informal networks, social capital and factors of coordination

  • Data analysis with SPSS software for bidirectional and multivariate analyses of variance, multiple regression analyses and analyses of covariance

  • Development of a methodology in collaboration with the organizations to make this mapping dynamic and current


The project made it possible to create a map of adaptation organizations (Figure 1), which demonstrates that the network is very uniform. For a network in a field as intersectoral and interlevel as adaptation to climate change, one would have expected several sub-groups, linked together by intermediaries responsible for fostering concerted action.

Figure 1

Figure 1. Mapping of organizations involved in climate change adaptation in Montréal. The size of the points represents the degree (number of links). The colours represent the sub-groups identified by the software (group of organizations that have more links with each other than with the others). They correspond somewhat to the scales. Yellow and green = greening, local level; blue = planning organization (regulations, adaptation plans); orange includes some intermediaries.

The network has a large number of interactions between levels (Figure 2) and sectors (Figure 3), which is beneficial for a network involved in adaptation. Nevertheless, there is a lack of relations with academia (Figure 3).

Figure 2 et figure 3

Figure 2. Links between levels. | Figure 3. Links between different sectors.

The greatest number of links between sectors are found in the non-profit/community/public triangle, and these links are characterized by strong dependencies, but rather weak links. The network density (percentage of links out of the total possible) is rather low (9.4%), but key organizations are more connected to each other (44% density for those with more than 20 relationships).

Centralization (measurement of the star shape of the network around a central participant) places the Ville de Montréal (central municipal administration) in the centre, with fairly high centralization (0.35). High centralization facilitates coordination in the event of a crisis, but it gives great control over information flows to the central organization. As the Ville de Montréal also has a high centrality of intermediarity, which means that it is connected to many otherwise unrelated actors, a lack of internal cohesion could block information channels.

One can observe that the majority of links are collaborative links (63%, knowing that a link can be of several types), which are typically weak, and secondarily there are links for sharing information, knowledge or skills (36%). Stronger links are found between the higher levels, encouraged by the ease of communications and administrative simplicity. At a more local level, the links are weaker, but are characterized by common goals and values. Organizations are ready to maintain a more difficult relationship in the presence of common goals, which are the real driver of the relationships.
In a solely collaborative network, local organizations fostering concerted action are the key players (community business development corporations,

Coalition montréalaise des Tables de quartier) and higher levels are absent. Among the organizations that finance adaptation and resilience, many serve only as a relay. Respondents were asked about voluntarily non-existent links and the reasons behind these anti-links.

Such anti-links can be seen between the public and non-profit sectors as well as the private and non-profit sectors. They are caused by a fear of the impact of the relationship on the image of one’s organization and by a private/public attempt to control that pushes non-profit organizations to avoid relationships to maintain their independence.

Benefits for adaptation

Benefits for adaptation

Adaptation organizations now have an up-to-date portrait of the links between them, ready to be used to further their understanding of each other’s activities, to clarify their position for strategic planning purposes, and to identify allies and competitors as part of their regular activities.

Scientific publications

Document type
Cartographie des acteurs impliqués dans l’adaptation aux changements climatiques et le…
Jutras, M., Usher, S., Therrien, M-C.


Other participants

  • Ville de Montréal

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