Emerald City 50/50 + Rocade - Urban Design work from Columbia University in Bordeaux, France
team: Ara Hovsepyan, Mahrad Shahbazi, Elham Morovvati
The Francios Mitterand Bridge of Bordeaux, crossing the Garonne River and leading to the right bank, is currently marked by a poorly planned Auchan superstore to its north and unused wetlands to its south. The land of the superstore and much of the wetlands share one owner who has attempted but been unable to build on the green space. Emerald City attempts to incentivize the transformation of the wetland into a regionally advantageous large park by adding buildable area to the alluring land in exchange for preservation of the green. ‘50/50’ has become a motto of the Urban Community of Bordeaux to express intentions to contain an equal amount of green and built area within the agglomeration of La CUB. The proposed strategy of development, preservation, and transformation creates a ‘postcard’ image as one approaches the right bank. The 50/50 exemplified by Emerald City incorporates, and is in fact formed by another symbolic element of Bordeaux, the rocade. The rocade is viewed in a positive light, as a necessary and efficient means of transportation, and a former of the form of the city. The postcard image created is one of density in built fabric placed against a large park, divided and defined by the Francois Mitterand bridge of the ring road. Pools are carved at the park’s edge - seasonally flooded, agriculture is integrated with spaces for vending, botanical gardens provide a cultural center, sporting facilities provide local gathering for leisure, and a new bridge connects the urban density over the rocade encouraging pedestrian gathering. The built environment to the north is more effectively planned, employing verticality within parking to densify it, freeing up space for the public realm, as well as a hotels, offices, and housing. Emerald City is a mini-manifestation of the urban realm of Bordeaux, with its dense fabric and preserved accessible green as its identifying elements.