THE « NATURE CITY » AS AN ANSWER TO THE CITY AT RISK, AN EPISTEMOLOGICAL DISRUPT INTO PLANNING: THE “GRAND PARIS” CASE

A. Gey, town planning, UNIVERSITE DE GRENOBLE, paris, France

Abstract

In March 2008, ten selected teams have exposed their projects for the Greater Paris concourse. They developed their theories and plans by questioning the future relations between Paris and its territories, but also by defining what could and should be a post Kyoto metropolis.

In our thesis we are trying to describe and analyze the “naturalization” process in course in contemporary practice of town planning throughout the specific issue of the “Grand Paris” project. Of course, interest in the environment, link between city and nature, are well known topics that are very often discussed and quite effective in urban policies. However, in the field of town planning, neither project nor practical event has ever developed such a variety of solutions all involving a strong city to nature connection. Therefore the “Grand Paris” concourse offers an extraordinary occasion to trigger the town planner’s conceptions on the relation between nature and city. Eventually, our survey is an attempt to set up a history of ideas on the subject through one very specific case, sparing us from an arbitrary compilation of data from different times and different cities trough the world.

Embedded in this deep process of “naturalization”, is the particular use of nature as a key technical element in the risk management. In addition to others pure technical artifacts dealing with natural and technological risks, natural elements like water, plants and air are included into complex technological devices making the whole city a kind of nested super technical object. This treatment is not only showing a representational shift among town planners but also the new status of nature and its relations with society and technology, as Beck demonstrated in his well known essay.

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