Plan D'Aou

Reimagining the French village

Client: Europan '12
Team: arki_lab, Concorde
Our role: Community engagement and consensus building, Strategy & concept development, Masterplan
Location: Marseille, France
Year: 2013 
Status: Completed

arki_lab’s winner proposal for the Europan'12 competition focused on urban intervention and social renewal of Plan D’Aou through community engagement. The masterplan, done in collaboration with architects from Concorde, proposes a rethinking of the traditional historic French village. Our proposal focused on the following areas:

Creating a new user culture through public space design
In many French cities, public parks bear the mark of neglect and insufficient maintenance budgets. To reverse this trend, the local residents need to be involved in the establishment and everyday maintenance of the park, that will serve as a green spine, connecting different areas of the neighbourhood and enabling views to the Mediterranean Sea.

New forms of house ownership
Inspired by the Danish co-op model, the project proposed a residential plan that prohibits housing rents from increasing, thus avoiding housing speculation. Each unit is built in a small scale with the possibility of combining them, to support many different ways of living.

Various types of infrastructure are integrated
The main feature of the project was to incorporate various types of infrastructure: social, biological, hydrological, economical, etc. Examining these different aspects and letting them support each other in the plan, allows for a process that can be adapted along the way, keeping both social and environmental sustainability a priority. The masterplan proposed a socially adaptable structure, where the individual housing is small, but adjoins it, thus allowing for flexible use over time.

Special attention to nature
The topological plateau creates an urban island, surrounded by both green and a diverse city fabric. This unique situation is indeed worth preserving yet new connections are necessary to facilitate new residents and their well-being thus the connections are all carefully chosen and designed in high urban quality.

Social inclusion as a design approach
The actual work on the project started with a series of community engagement workshops and qualitative interviews, to secure valuable knowledge and input from citizens, thus enabling us to design the above mentioned interventions in the best possible way. The data from the workshops were collected in a detailed survey, suggesting involvement methods throughout the design process. The suggestions included collaborating with local schools and activating the neighbourhood through community events such as pop-up gardening, mobile libraries and public art exhibitions.

Today the project is in the construction phase. The engagement work however, has already made a big impression on the residents of the area. As one of the clients say:

”The project 'A new urban village' turned out to be exactly what Plan d'Aou needs. arki_lab's approach of involving citizens and especially children and schools in urban development proved to be of great value to all residents and increased ownership of the area - this approach to the project also created a common identity that has connected people around the many potentials of their local area."

global goals for sustainable development FNS 17 verdensmålSUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
We strive to use the Sustainable Development Goals as a structuring framework for our projects. This is how this project contributes to a more sustainable future

global goals decent work and economic growth FNs verdensmål anstændige jobs og økonomisk vækst

The project focus on improving Asnæs' image as an attractive and lively commercial junction for both tourists and the catchment areas.

global goals industry innovation and infrastructure FNs verdensmål industri innovation og infrastruktur

In working with the connection between the station and the shopping mall we strive to improve inner coherence and infrastructure.

global goals sustainable cities and communities FNs verdensmål bæredygtige byer og lokalsamfund

Involving a broad variety of stakeholders we've strengthened the local unity, hence, supporting a more durable community.

global goals partnerships for the goals FNs verdensmål partnerskab for handling

The project has brought local initiators and decisionmakers cloaser together which in the future can ease the path for new sustainable projects.

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