Ruban d’Aou – EUROPAN 12

Location — Marseille
Country — France

fig. (1)

Birdview of Plan d'Aou

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urban diagrams

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conception diagram - the dream of the inhabitant made real

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scenario 1 - orthodoxe city

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scenario 2 - the green city

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scenario 3 - the interactive city
(most desirable)

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catalogue of typologies

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the result of a mixed boulevard

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view of a boulevard

Plan d’Aou neighborhood is part of the so-called Marseille-Nord territory. The setting is at present a strategic stake for the social landlords. Its placement and its geographical advantages gave way to independant real estate operations that have not really improved the urban and social relationships within the area. The harsh urban operations from the 1960s and the subsequent scars, after further interventions, have created a hermetic urban area. The settlements of housing units have been made along dead end streets; the isolating parking spaces surround and encircle the buildings. Each operation remains a succession of islands that float independently in this rocky plateau.

In Marseille the public space is often the scenario for the improbable encounters. The idea of appropriation is one of the characteristics of the Mediterranean culture and this sociologic phenomenon is transcribed into numerous interstices of the city. The public space is at the mercy of their inhabitants who invade it without reserve, mainly in a chaotic way. More than anywhere else, the model of the modern neighborhood, offers, through its improvised urban planning and at the present inefficient, non-defined spaces which have become areas places for meeting, for trading and for expression. It is precisely, within this Mediterranean context where this kind of social practice can become a coordinating tool, inasmuch as it is internally managed by local communities. Marseille is in France the capital of the «do it yourself».

The proposal is affirmed as an urban alternative for a settlement problem. It is based on the search for the hierarchy and the sense within the un-ruled spaces, public wasteland, wild car park sites, abandoned green areas. The project intends to give these spaces a communal and participative value. Therefore, it is the inhabitants that become the principal actors of their environment. The population identifies itself with the neighborhood, with the belief that a feeling of belonging to a heterogeneous totality will arise with time.

The « boulevards » that are created are thought for the total community of Plan d’Aou and could eventually also be extended to the surrounding areas. Different plots are proposed, which could be shared between individuals or groups, with the intention of offering spaces for common activities which could be developed according to their collective needs. This association of programmes will permit the inhabitants share their values and hence re-shape these places in order to serve for a bigger community.