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Author(s): Marc VERDIER
Contributor: ENSA Nancy

Rural landscape, innovative urban planning

The countryside, in the majority and dominant in terms of land, production capacity, and living capacity, has slipped into the minority in terms of population in less than one century, the century of petroleum and city development: less petroleum, more value to the earth, and new balances to be defined between city and countryside, the coming century will return the countryside to centre stage.

Architecture as a tool for mobilising this recovery?

The built environment, cultural ways, and lifestyles of previous generations can be read in landscapes and built heritage. Reactivating this intelligence to make it a contemporary project value, adapted to current living conditions is a necessity. The wealth of this heritage is astounding and leads students to sustainable working methods as they are a part of the ‘meaning’ of the land”.

The School of Architecture of NANCY comes to the fore:

In 10 years, 150 students have wandered rural areas (17 municipalities in 8 regions) to contribute to a rural planning designed to recover from widespread amnesia in terms of local intelligence and resource mobilisation, able to make a contemporary and productive link with the human, energy, and food production potential of the countryside.

Dismantling heritage to rebuild it in modern ways is an adapted architectural act that helps restore the societal project in areas that even recently have shared their disarray, while the forces brought together in these 10 years of projects confirm to us “that another world can be invented here” (slogan for the Network of Regional Nature Parks, who are our partners).

Good news from the front then, as architecture has been at work for 10 years without a break, through the energy of your developing young architects.


The impoverished areas of yesterday are the resilient spaces of today.

The abandoned areas of a productivist society are complex ecosystems that are again becoming points of reference for a new form of society.

The “field” workshop created an optimistic dynamic to start an uninhibited dynamic for inventing new lifestyles through architectural projects in villages.

The power of the countryside must be recovered. Architecture is a means to show this and anchor it in the landscape.

Believe that one can (contribute) to changing the world.

The projects carried out in rural areas in small municipalities, with a few residents and elected officials, based on mobilising a few people, students, architects, and stakeholders in the Nature Parks can (contribute) to changing the world… here, on the fronts of a new form of contract to be signed between Humans and the Earth.

Programme : Contribute to rural planning