The metropolitan landscape factory

The metropolitan landscape factory
The large landscape which makes up the heart of the Parisian conglomeration is as much the result of its geography as of the great royal routes and the monumental design and layout of the city, of which Paris is a most striking example. Until the 1970s, there was not one planning document, not one Regional Development Master Plan which did not adhere to this tradition of “French-style landscape”, which did not try to reveal the broad contours of the landscape and tackle its inherent problems.
This line of approach was abandoned bit by bit, its field of operation reduced, (the protective zones only applying to Paris) while at the same time the landscape was never so present: a built landscape linked to the Tower projects but even more a symbolic landscape, a shared landscape connected to the idea of metropolitan identity.
Therefore, in 2010, Apur started to re-examine this question in studies, looking at it from two angles:
  • What is the broad landscape of the Parisian metropolis? What is it made up of? What images does it generate? How do people see it? What role will it play in the transformation of the metropolis?
  • How to analyse, document, represent it and work with it? Apur first of all explored and perfected tools aimed at measuring the impact of projects on the metropolitan landscape. This information and experience made it possible to develop forward-looking tools which could be used from the outset when designing projects, to create simulations, provide support and make assessments and even influence project orientation.
In this study, the larger landscape was first of all broken down and classified using various tools, then, with the expertise of Bertrand Warnier, it was de-coded at several different scales using a combination of cartographic tools and a sensitive eye; finally, those urban and architectural elements were addressed – for example forts – which, through their place in the landscape could serve as levers to build a landscape which is more readable, more recognisable and more emblematic of the metropolitan construction underway.
“The Metropolitan Landscape Factory” is an exploratory and pragmatic working document. It will serve as a tool for the 30th Ateliers Cergy-Pontoise - Workshops for Project Supervisors which will take place from August 28th to September 27th, 2012 with as its theme the way the metropolitan landscape is represented and depicted. Within this framework, participants of all disciplines will be invited to think about the city, and more particularly the Parisian metropolis, taking as their standpoint an exploration of the larger landscape, that which is a daily reality for the inhabitants of the metropolis.
“The Metropolitan Landscape Factory” will be one of the documents put at their disposal for discussion and proposals, and is available now to all Workshop participants.
Christiane Blancot, Director of Studies at Apur, will speak at the workshops on Tuesday 28th August, 2012 on the Landscape of Paris and the Inner Ring of Suburbs -La Petite Couronne-.
Dominique Alba, Director of Apur, will be one of the International Jury which will meet on 26th September, 2012, to pick out the best analytical elements and project proposals and to name the winning team. These elements will be presented to a panel of Grand Paris developers and decision-makers at the Controverse Métropolitaine, which will take place on 28th September, 2012.