Author(s): Elodie Nourrigat et Jacques Brion
Contributor: ENSA Montpellier

Southern Cities

The Cities of the South study area explores the architectural and urban planning project from a specific point of entry: a re-examination of the locality as a vector for developing cities in a metropolitan dynamic. We start with the assumption that to act on a global environment, we must work to create specific environments that respect the localities of which they are a part, and build veritable lived environments.

The South is a concept here that gives priority to specificity with regard the standard and values the diversities of living in it. The locality that is important to us is one that is based on spatial and architectural systems. It is a dynamic system that brings together the specificities of an area to transcend them toward an urban order placing Humans and Housing at its centre.

The work conducted is focused between thought and practice in the making, and is resolutely experimental. Cities of the South offers the ability to examine the project at these levels through its ability to regenerate environments. To do this, thematic cycles were established, and in relation, project situations adapted and identified in cities corresponding to specific territorial, cultural, urban, heritage, economic, and climate contexts.

The first cycle examined relationships between “cities and water”, by choosing port cities (Genoa, Valencia, and Istanbul). The second was devoted to “extreme” conditions.

The city of Pamplona offered exemplary project situations with regard to the challenges of urban agriculture. Evora helped continue the exercise by opening up to development conditions in arid situations. And Ljubljana examined the concept of the smart city, with the idea that the city is smart not because it is technologically advanced, but because it is able to increase the level of services for citizens and re-examine the terms of its governance. Each cycle concluded with a return to Montpellier with a potential vision and with the lessons learned from prior experiments.

Beyond the transmission of knowledge, the educational plan implemented seeks to train future architects with the goal being their social and professional integration by preparing them for the full exercise of their responsibilities as societal stakeholders, with an awareness of future challenges for the architects of tomorrow.

Programme : The locality as urban development vector