Europan 12 announces a shift in paradigm. It is a fact that the World is constantly changing socially, politically, environmentally, economically and technologically. However, are our cities responsive to such conditions? We believe that cities nowadays are too rigid and static, and are incapable of adapting to constantly shifting conditions and needs. “On the move” provides a critique of the contemporary top-down urban planning approach and the relationship between city and user. Through rethinking and reimaging the urban development process, we provide a framework and toolkit that empowers the people the ability and opportunity to contribute to the planning and development process of cities. The toolkit consists of 3 major tools - The Cloud, The Rules and The Prototypologies. - Through this set of tools, people are now able to participate in the design process, allowing them to make decisions on how their city is designed, how their city grows, and most importantly, how their city is used. While the result might end up in an apparent chaos, it would in fact be nothing but one form of organization framed within the unexpectedness and dynamism given by free will and freedom of choice. The reconceptualised city is designed here collectively, and is highly flexible and responsive to shifting conditions, while celebrating the intense, diverse and complex character of a metropolis.
Welcome to YOUR city.
THE CITY: FROM STATIC TO DYNAMIC
Cities nowadays are designed in a top-down approach, with the Governmental institutions dictating design decisions, hence are often not what the people want or need. Cities are now rigid and static, and are not able to ADAPT to the constantly changing demands and needs of the people.
We believe cities should have a dynamic relationship with the people who live there. The city should be designed by a bottom-up approach, giving citizens the tools and parameters within which their city can be designed. The city should be constantly evolving and responding to emerging needs and desires. The city and the people should have a reciprocal relationship.
In order to create such a dynamic system, we provide the people with a “make your own” planning Toolkit with the necessary urbanistic development instruments. Within the toolkit, there is the Cloud, the Prototypologies and the Rules. The 3 tools work together to create a city that allows freedom through a process of controlled chaos.
1.- The cloud is a critique of the rigid zoning method of contemporary urban planning and is the generator of this dynamic city. The cloud extracts data such as attractions and pedestrian flows from the surrounding context, and generates a 3D map of points that highlight the contexts’ influences. According to these “attractors”, the mapping of points suggest where different scales or typologies could be built to maximize interaction and integration. The Cloud itself is an evolving master plan, and it constantly updates when new projects and flows are introduced.
2.- The Rules indicate and regulate how the user builds in the site. The set of rules ensures the livelihood of the city and its users in terms of social and environmental aspects. Upon the input of every new idea or project within the cloud, a designer will take part throughout a conversational process of consulting. The designer may also be a commission, which will make sure that the overall rules (subject to change according to yearly surveys) are followed throughout the project. They are the guideline for an active co-habitation which again reacts on the needs of the people perpetuating the process whilst ensuring a dynamic growth.
3.- Prototypologies are model types that are constantly evolving. As prototypes, they represent a process of evolution, inherently incorporating transformation and evolution as a response to the information they receive from their surrounding context and to the variable necessities of their users. As typologies, they represent structures which are commonly used and understood within our societies. The catalogue shows the potential scenarios of how a prototypology may evolve over time, either in scale or function. The prototypologies do not suggest a shape or form; instead, what is emphasized is their performance - highly flexible and capable of being reused for new functions.
ROUEN ON THE MOVE: THE PROCESS
The virtual cloud is in essence a generic analysis for any specific site. It is therefore designed to be a basic tool for urban planning. In the Saint-Sever area, the actual station and the archive tower are the main XL attractors. According to the rules previously presented (the script of the cloud), strong attractors bring in high density, therefore a high-rise centre emerges between both. Re-using the fret station and turning it into the new Saint-Sever main train station with a new entrance hall is one of the main issues to solve. Around it, new functions will appear re-using the existing warehouse, creating new sidewalks and intense pedestrian activities and flows. The docks in front of the Seine reconfigure the existing hangars again into a new cultural area incorporating theatres, museums and exhibition centres, a space very much open to the public with tertiary amenities and a strong connection with the landscape.
A newly created pedestrian and bike bridge crosses the whole site to link the university campus and the city centre through the island, with the station and the south of Rouen. This new flow brings a new dynamic densifiable influence (cf CLoud) in the island allowing the development of new prototypologies around it. Small interventions emerge on top and plugged on the facades of the existing housing towers by means of extending the limbs of the living space creating new terraced facades and green roofs.
A long striped park reinterprets the scars of the railway tracks keeping the site spirit while calling at the same time for many new functions such as housing, retail, temporary activities.
2. THE RIVER FRONT
On the other side, in Lacroix Island, towers are refubished with terrasse extensions to the Seine. Along the river, new prototypologies begin to colonize the docks, a beautiful area with great potential to enhance the direct connection with the water. A mixed used large scale node emerges in the middle of the new transversal connection enhancing a higher influx and accessibility to the island.
ADAPTABILITY: 2040 ->
New typologies, density and activities have colonized the area and with them opportunities arouse. The Saint Sever Station has turned into the main multimodal node for Rouen connecting the city with the south of France and with it’s own historic centre. The roof of the station has allowed plugged-in typologies and adapted its quality for new functions. Upon the existing warehouses and the long park, the city has been developed spontaneously in stripes creating lineal urban paths which follow the directionality of the existing tissue.
In the core of the island the crossing node located between the new pedestrian path and the longitudinal street has attracted numerous activities and turned into a vertical mixed use compact zone, a new icon and a visible skyline for Rouen.
Many typologies host new functions 30 years after. People have claimed for more sport facilities in the back side of the site where the landscape opens up, more cultural equipment on the docks and housing demand rises all around. The almost fulfilled total area of the cloud indicates a new conception of the vertical-city based upon reconquering the neglected real estate (roofs, tracks...) and amplifying the possibilities of the new. The process has flexibilized the rigid urban structures and allowed the “Rouennais” to actively collaborate in building their own city.
1. THE SAINT SEVER MULTIMODAL STATION
The densification has resulted in an organic lively neighbourhood within an intensive commication hub
2. THE TRAM VILLAGE
The new re-built bridge after the fire was a great opportunity to host something more than just a mere bond. The tram now flows through it and its roof has appeared as one of the best viewpoints where temporary events may take place. This node has also brought smaller scale dwellings which have been piling up to generate a rather interesting permeable neighborhood.