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numéro 113
mars 2019

La ville standardisée

Bertrand Vallet
Louis Baldasseroni

Pedestrianisation : a model for uniform city centers?
Lyons case, 1970-1980’s
Footstreets are nowadays a standard for the city centers of metropolis and medium-sized cities in Europe. This paper shows the importance of street-level actors’ systems to relativize the impression of standardization of processes and urban forms. Committees of inhabitants or shopkeepers want to make a difference between their street and others. So they initiate the creation of pedestrian areas and develop expertise by learning about foreign experiences. This explains partly the differences in the urban landscape of each pedestrian street in Lyon. Street cross-section, pavement and street furniture are a mix of several models adapted to micro-local characteristics.

Nicolas Bataille, Guillaume Lacroix

Outsourcing urban engineering in France. Design standardization and organizational customization
At first glance, the increasing call for innovative urban projects contradicts the phenomena of city standardization. Observing the mechanisms of urban planning outsourcing in France through public markets helps in apprehending this apparent paradox. Methodological standardization in urban design can be first understood by looking at urban engineering performance models. Secondly, this is the consequence of public selection process that makes such engineering firms using renowned and standard methods to appears as a reliable contractor. When they do so, urban engineers contribute to the circulation of urban models within the field of urban planning and design. However, urban engineers claim to customize their services to meet organizational and local specificities, thus ensuring urban project success. This claim is part of a broader market strategy to offer highly-awarded consulting services to urban governments.

Divya Leducq

International referencing and standardization of urban production
Hanoi, from models to practices
This paper questions the international circulation of urban models and the factors that product standardized urbanism in the context of Hanoi, the capital-city of Vietnam. Today, Hanoi stands at the crossroads of three fundamental issues : internationalization, global urban competition and metropolitan transition. Our research is firstly based on an examination of the 2030-2050 Master Plan (approved in 2011), and secondly, it results from a field analysis of residential and business new urban zones (2010-2017). The study underlines the multi-referencing of ideas and the internationalization of local authority’ practices. This investigation also explores the vision of a growing, smart and sustainable city and highlights new urban stakes.

Keira Bachar

Urban (re)production in Algeria
How the model of collective social housing became the norm
Built in almost Algerian cities, stereotyped social housing projects, today denominated “urban area”, reproduced approximately the same conceptual schemes than those used during 1980s for the projects of “New Urban Housing Zones” (ZHUN), which were the continuity of multifamily housing estates, symbols of modern movement principles, while few last public operations presented as sustainable, seem to introduce some new international “standards” by integrating the proactive government approach, based on mass production and pre-established operation modes.

Marco Chitti

North-to-South technical assistance in urban planning : circulating models or circulating urban planners?
This article approach technical assistance in aid development as a case of north-to-south diffusion of urban planning models and ideas. Rooted on post-colonial perspectives, dominant literature focus on gaps between original planning models and local adaptations, neglecting professionals grounded practice. Focusing on the process’s insiders, ethnographic and professional sociology’s approaches put the analysis of the transfer process in the light of the complexity of urban planners’ expertise and situated professional practice. This paper argues that a closer investigation of urban planners in action in the context of technical assistance would enhance our comprehension on the international diffusion of urban planning.

David Navarrete Escobedo

News from the South : Analysing standardization processes in Latin
American cities through Mexico City case
Since 1980 most Latin American cities have shown very similar urban agendas. The perceived effect is that of a standardized city with the same neighbourhoods and facilities. Those spaces characterise a neoliberal and globalized economic model. Through a theoretical analysis of processes, actors and materials of urban models’ circulation in the region, this paper questions the nature of this standardized city. It concludes that historically the Latin American city has always been exposed to standardization without excluding its own identity, that is to say hybridisation of urban models or a soft standardization are the dominant pattern.

Félix Lefebvre

Attempts to bring international urban standards to the « peripheries of the world »
The case of Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso)
Specific public authorities practices and representations in Ouagadougou seem to demonstrate a will to make the city more competitive towards his “rivals” of the “peripheries of the world”, and to attract international Investments. But this will for order and normalize the city produces in reality contrasted results that reveal urban contradictions, and potentially conflicting urban strategies from the urban actors. So here we have an opportunity to analyze the differences between standardization through the model and the resistance of context, highlighting the field spatial contradictions.

Marta Pappalardo

The “heritage city” as a model
The role of cultural policies in the development of the historic centre of Naples
This research investigates the heritage politics in the city-centres, seen as a process of standardization of a certain model of a “responsible society”, where the protection of the urban heritage is supposed to guarantee the necessary requisites for inhabiting the centres. By taking as case study the centre of Naples, Unesco World Heritage since 1995, it is possible to study the heritage policies carried out since 2009 both as resulting from a standardization of the urban planning, and as the reproduction of a social norm that delegitimizes the working classes, to the benefit of élites and tourists, demonstrating the tensions between top-down heritage politics, carried out by the institutions, and the appropriation of the urban heritage from the bottom.

Claire Fonticelli - Patrick Moquay

From standard to standard…
How to develop the peri-urban area of Ile-de-France?
Gradually, densification has been regarded in public policies as an optimal urban planning model, thus requiring French communes to strengthen their legislation. However, the latter model is not well suited to all cases, particularly when it applies to the dense historic centers of the periurban communes of the Ile-de-France region, where its realization remains complicated (high cost, lack of engineering). Moreover, densification is not always conducive to architectural and urban quality : the resulting constructions are reflected in a new architectural standard, pastiching, which often flouts its inscription in a local urban and landscape project.

Pierre Gras

Globalization and standardization.
The case of port metropolises
The acceleration of the globalization of the exchanges and the report of a standardization of the urban forms brought to question on the future of the port metropolises’ morphology. These metropolises constitute a real laboratory which allows to observe in what their evolution is protean and especially refleats their own history. By the shifts they propose in terms of scale and urban forms, these cities allow to approach the standardization in a differentiating way, beyond agreed points of view on the urban everyday acceptance, the production of an iconic architecture and the implementation of “great mobilizing stories” on these singular territories.

José Chaboche

This paper is part of the problem of the contribution of large sports venues to the political and capitalist construction of the city. It aims to understand how the major contemporary stadiums built in public-private partnerships (PPP) are the result of a renewed standardization of urban production processes. Multi-purpose study about eleven selected stadiums, direct observation of venues, analysis of feedback from practitioners and written documentation form part of the chosen methodological framework. It reveals the contemporary features of the large stadium, gives a state of the art of the French situation and shows the complexity of instruments and sets of actors taking part of the PPP stadiums production. These elements reveal the model of the large stadium, an archetypal figure of the standardized city.

Aurélie Delage

Mind the gap !
Questioning the standard brand new high-speed train station areas in unattractive cities
For the last decade, in large cities, urban regeneration projects of dilapidated areas surrounding high-speed train stations have been a “must have” for public policies. Over time, those areas have become a highly valued, multi-facetted asset greatly helping declining cities to regain attractiveness. Precisely because they are standardized, those urban projects are reassuring both public authorities and private stakeholders for novel financing, especially in shrinking cities. But even if standard projects were viewed as a “miracle formula” for a while, they are now considered as a necessary but not sufficient step to boost urban growth.

Florence Laumière, Mariette Sibertin-Blanc, Corinne Siino

Old-fashioned city
The logic of the marketing in the urban renewal of Le Plessis-Robinson
The urban renewal of Le Plessis-Robinson represents a symbolic case where the choice of the “traditional” architecture and urban form is due to marketing and works as a brand. Its repeatable and winning “solutions” and “images” are thought to sell the buildings. Today, this brand can be more and more observed at an international level with the effect of making parts of cities uniform. This new way of building cities hides ambiguities : citizen/customer, urban plan/marketing plan, choice/imposition, authenticity/simulation.

Giulio Lupo, Barbara Badiani

Old-fashioned city
The logic of the marketing in the urban renewal of Le Plessis-Robinson
The urban renewal of Le Plessis-Robinson represents a symbolic case where the choice of the “traditional” architecture and urban form is due to marketing and works as a brand. Its repeatable and winning “solutions” and “images” are thought to sell the buildings. Today, this brand can be more and more observed at an international level with the effect of making parts of cities uniform. This new way of building cities hides ambiguities : citizen/customer, urban plan/marketing plan, choice/imposition, authenticity/simulation.

Gilles Novarina, Stéphane Sadoux

The garden city
A reservoir of references to reinvent
This paper aims to show that the garden city model as defined by Ebenezer Howard and implemented by various architects, including Raymond Unwin and Barry Parker, has not generated standardised designs. We suggest that this model can on the contrary be viewed as a pool of precedents which are conducive to reinterpretation. This paper deals with the spatial and physical aspects of the garden city and on the circulation of the model between Great-Britain and the United States, from the early 20th century to the present day.

Coordonnateurs : Common.Langage, Nicolas Monnot (Fr) et Monica Berri (Fr, Esp, It) Groupe de travail : Diane Devau (Fr) , Collectif esPASces POSSIBLES ? (Fr) Participants : Collectif Tadaa (Fr)

Over the last fifteen years, a voluntary movement of young architects and town planners has emerged to make the city differently, with citizens. Promoting exchanges, giving voice to inhabitants, reclaiming public space, are set out as the guiding principles of “alternative” urban planning, perceptible materially by the construction of ephemeral structures that create links. Multiplication of alternative urban occupations suggests standardization. However, this process of standardizing the urban alternative does not come so much from its materiality than from its modalities, the metropolises finding a possible articulation to strengthen their strategies of territorial marketing.

Hélène Nessi

Applying an energy transition model work at the local scale : from technical standards to decision support tools
The energy transition policies are based on standardized instruments that have the effect that a certain homogenization of urban space. From energy transition submitted by economist J. Rifkin (2011), the third industrial revolution, we analyse the transposition a global model at a local level. The comparative analysis of the two Masters plans proposed by J. Rifkin in Rome and Nord-Pas-de-Calais region shows 1) a discrepancy between the global and the local operating model compared with the involvement of local actors ; and 2) the importance of local actors in the implementation of this model so that it is not played in a standardized way through the single application of technical measures, and become a real project of territory.

Gabriele Salvia, Stéphane Hanrot

Toward the “capsularisation” of highways
Implications of noise barriers on the quality of the landscape and the urban space of the metropolitan area of Aix-Marseille
The apparatuses of acoustic protection constitute a generic response, required by law, in order to treat the nuisance caused from highways in urban and peri-urban environments. Although regulation and acoustic studies are capable in resolving the « problem » of noise, other aspects, such as the perception of the context, the quality of space they produce and their management, are generally neglected. Based on this observation, we ask what kind of landscapes to such noise barriers produce? What are their effects on the perception of highways, on the forms and uses of adjacent urban tissues? In order to respond to these questions, we analyze the noise barriers along highways A7 and A51 of the metropolitan area of Aix-Marseille-Provence. In face of the limited quality of the solutions systematically applied, the question is to examine other solutions adaptability to the urban and landscape issues of the different contexts the highway navigates today.