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Numéro 91 Décembre 2001

Villes et guerres

Albrecht Koschorke
War and urban reform early in the XXth century - A desire for cleansing

The outbreak of the First World War
was met with enthusiasm in Germany,
as a salutary, cleansing event in a context
of decadent civilization. The traumatism
that followed the apocalypse gave
rise to a desire to use a clean slate
approach to the chaotic city, with the
Bauhaus in architecture. After the
second world conflict, planning for
urban reconstruction remained marked
by this history of cleansing as an entry
into modernity.

Efi Markou
The military and the urban planners of the thirties,

Urban planning and the aerial threat
During the inter-war period in France,
the ascendancy of a new arm, aviation,
led some of the military to propose new
urban planning models. The « high-rise
city » arguments put forward by the
artillery engineer, Paul Vauthier followed
the new approach of the Athens Charter
whereas the « garden city » model was
used by the naval engineer, Camille
Rougeron. Through enlightened dialogue,
the military took over the urban
planning models and the urban planners’projects
were reinforced by the
defence requirement.

Rémi Baudouï
From atomic threat to « low intensity » conflicts The increasing impact of war on the city

The history of human conflicts fuses
together with the relations between the
city and war. From the atomic destruction
of the City of Hiroshima to the dismantling
of the Berlin wall with pickaxes,
the nuclear dissuasion strategy has
driven the scene of conflict out to the
fringes of the major Western metropolises.
With the end of the cold war,
multi-cultural cities have become the
focal areas of « low intensity » conflicts.
Contemporary war, in its many different
forms, has taken the city hostage, as
shown by the suicide attacks in New
York and Washington at the dawning
of the new millennium.

Jean-Louis Dufour
The army up against the city

The key players in today’s armed
conflicts are not so much soldiers in the
traditional sense of the term as militiamen
up against disarmed civilian populations.
The city has become the main
scene of predatory operations, both a
target and a resistance force. Unwillingly,
the national army is compelled to
review its traditional strategies, to learn
how to deal with crowds, to maintain
law and order and to guarantee humanitarian

Patrice Gourbin
Discovery and protection of the ancient heritage of Le Havre

The action of Georges Priem
Le Havre was one of the most extensively
rebuilt cities after the Second World
War but its historical heritage has nonetheless
expanded. Georges Priem, indefatigable
protector of the city’s heritage
of buildings and monuments, has limited
the harm done by reconstruction,
particularly by preserving the dock area
and the Saint François district. The city
centre, rebuilt by Auguste Perret, an
architect who succeeded in combining
modern plan and classical order, now
forms part of the heritage.

Florine Ballif
Belfast : towards peacetime urban planning

Spatial reconstruction with the ending of
the civil war
The long war between Catholics and
Protestants in Northern Ireland has
enduringly left its mark on the city. Belfast
is thus cut into by intermediate areas
given up to confrontation, riots and barriers
erected between communities. The
peace process initiated in the mid 1990s
has neutralized these areas. But the
urban planning operations now being
implemented are suffering from a lack
of any conciliatory political project.

Boris Cindric, Muhamed Serdarevic, Jean Duriau
The « Europan » experience in Sarajevo

Reconstruction : an opportunity

Éric Verdeil
Unsuccessful rebuilding in Beirut

The continuation of war through the urban
In Beirut, the power relationships at
work during the war throw light on
post-war rebuilding practices. Renovation
of the city centre and restructuring
of the transport network during the
decade of the nineties have given way to
the balkanization of the urban community.
But the main developers of
these operations, where private interests
mingle closely with those of the
State, are also overcoming the failures of
their previous projects.

Christine Delpal
Beirut’s Corniche, a new public space

In Beirut, war has destroyed the use of
the central areas. But far from these areas,
it has also given rise to a new space where
opposing communities rub shoulders :
the Corniche, the coast road west of the
city. The Corniche, which was a place of
respite and commerce during the war,
became the principal meeting-place once
peace was restored. From promenade to
real estate speculation via all kinds of
commerce, it has become the most disputed
place in the city.

Sylvaine Bulle
Palestinian cities between colonial past and uncertain future

The Palestinian city is not a pregnant instance
of discourse on the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict. A historical analysis
nonetheless acknowledges its forms stratified
by successive colonial conquests
since the XVIIIth century. Palestinian
urbanity, which has been fragmented
between colonizing settlements, refugee
camps and renovation projects that
seize on the Ottoman memory as a selling
argument, today remains indefinable.
It is a territory to be defended or
conquered, a synthetic, unreal place between
war and national dream.

Nava Méron
The Gaza Strip in the form of maps

Cartographic representations of the
Gaza Strip, an Israelo-Palestinian zone
subject to the Oslo agreements, are by
no means non-partisan. Signs of territorial
identity are thus more abundant
and diversified in the Le Monde daily
than in the Israeli Ha’aretz daily. The
Manière de Voir magazine focuses on
information inside the perimeter of the
Strip whereas the Urbanisme magazine
covers local space as a set of planned
development operations. The best map
would be one that would show not only the political status of each territory but
also its social use.

Elisabeth Dorier-Apprill
A cycle of urban wars in Brazzaville

In the past ten years in Brazzaville, political
violence has turned into all-out
urban war that has taken the ethnical
reference framework as its guiding light.
The generalized cultural and political
bipartition between « northerners » and
« southerners » is breaking out into innumerable
fratricidal guerrilla wars opposing
young militiamen whose ethnic
origins are coined for the occasion.
Urban segregation means that some sections
of the urban population are living
while others are killing one another.

Marc-Antoine Pérouse de Montclos
A historical perspective on the city and war in West Africa. The case of Nigeria

Long before modern colonization, the
city at war in Sub-Saharan Africa experienced
all the classic examples of this
type of situation, as did medieval
Europe. At the end of the XVIIIth century
in Nigeria, the Yoruba empire
transformed urban geography through
razzias and exoduses. Colonization and
then national independence merely
added to the urban integration difficulties
of displaced populations who
were nonetheless destined to re-found

Donny Meertens
Displaced populations in Colombia and urban integration

In Colombia, the civilian population
has long been exposed to the endemic
violence of armed groups. In terrorized
rural communities, the flight from the
city is vital to survival. In Bogota, at the
outposts of urban integration, women
find jobs more easily than men to support
the displaced family. But men in a
situation of enforced unemployment
are more persevering than these women
for all the administrative steps that will
enable them to be re-housed or to reintegrate
the community.

Michel Agier
New cities, refugee camps Components of urban ethnology

Refugee camps, which have been set up
as an emergency system to protect all
kinds of war survivors and ensure their
physical, food and sanitary safety, crowd
tens of thousands of inhabitants together
for periods generally much longer
that the emergency period itself. Descriptions
of the camps in Dadaab, in the
north-east of Kenya, show three examples
of the beginnings of a probable form of
urban life : the beginnings of a symbolic
organization of space, social differentiation
and an identity change in the new
ethnical chequer board of exile. Can the
refugee camp then become a city taken
as an urban sociability space, an urbi,
and a political space, a polis.

Dominique Leblond
The internee dreamworld in the War Relocation Authority camps United States (1942-1946)

During the Second World War in the
United States, a hundred thousand
members of the Japanese community
were grouped together and relocated in
camps on the fringes of the deserts of
Western America. The military internment
areas were gradually reappropriated
by the inhabitants through decorations
and inscriptions affirming another
identity to that of the registration
number. The prison authorities gave
way these demonstrations of resistance
that nonetheless heralded urban reintegration.

André Guillerme
Transient cities, cities under siege in the XVIIIth century

Frontier-zone land use planning in the
North-East between 1770 and 1790
Siegecaft, the art, science and technique
of capturing strongholds in the Age of
Enlightenment, invented the « transient
city », a sprawling encampment to protect
the rear of the siege on the enemy city.
Strongholds, « last hopes that save States »,
are more like cities than the real thing ;
they go from being the besieged to being
the besiegers. Through their military
resources, Vauban’s successors have developed
space and time programming that
heralds contemporary land use planning.