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31 000 Toulouse
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Dream cities, sustainable cities?
After Paris and Mulhouse, Toulouse
March 30-June 12, 2011 at Espace Bazacle
An exhibition jointly produced by the EDF Diversiterre Foundation and City on the Move
Since 2000, IVM has organised discussions and international initiatives on travel in cities and sustainable urban mobility. Specific areas of exploration include changing lifestyles and issues of urban form and governance. The aim of this exhibition is to increase public awareness, beyond the closed spheres of experts and specialists, of the major challenges that urban planning faces today, which entail new compromises.
CURATORS: TAOUFIK SOUAMI AND ERIC CHARMES
CURATORS TAOUFIK SOUAMI AND ERIC CHARMES
EXHIBITION CATALOGUE PUBLISHED BY ÉDITIONS GALLIMARD,
“DECOUVERTES HORS SERIE” - OCTOBER 2010
According to CREDOC (Research Centre for the Study and Observation of Living Conditions), 82% of French people aspire to live in a detached house. Yet cities exercise a strong attraction, in particular because they provide easy access to jobs, schools, shops and leisure activities. Immersing visitors in the dreams and counter-dreams of city dwellers, the exhibition explores the contradictory desire for space and for centrality. At the heart of the public debate and our concerns as citizens, the exhibition offers the keys to an understanding of the challenges of tomorrow’s cities.
The city cannot be reduced to a machine that can be adjusted by clever techniques. It emerges from the collision between individual and collective aspirations, aspirations that arise from ideals, from dreams. Professional and scientific knowledge can cast light on these aspirations, but does not govern them. It can only help us to act on the basis of fact.
The big estates that in the 1960s embodied the means to combine the advantages of the city and of nature, have today become synonymous with overcrowding and insecurity. As for the urban sprawl of detached housing developments, while it meets the demand for space, it at the same time creates a high degree of dependence on the car.
At a time when governments and planning specialists are facing the great challenges of waste and pollution management, social housing, efficiency in energy and water use, how can we reconcile what people want from their cities with the imperatives of sustainable development?
Sustainable neighbourhoods, the greening of cities, urban villages, are all projects that offer responses to these essential questions: how do we provide day-to-day contact with nature? Do we need to regulate the use of water and energy? Should cities be composed of self-sufficient neighbourhoods?
The first thing that the exhibition offers is immersion in the multiplicity of urban dreams. Beyond this sensory discovery of the plurality of the city and of its dreams, the exhibition seeks to bring a better understanding of the concepts by which it can be understood. For example, the density or centrality that is the goal of today’s professionals does not have to be the nightmare that some people imagine. Tokyo, which is commonly depicted swarming with pedestrians and tower blocks, is less dense than Paris. Similarly, the rows of worker’s terraces in the North are as dense as the great high-rise estates on the outskirts of cities.
However, analysis is not enough. We need to be able to form an opinion, find a direction. So visitors are drawn towards new dreams: sustainable neighbourhoods, green cities, urban villages.
Eric Charmes, urbanist, Director of Lyon University's "City, Space, Society" interdisciplinary research centre, also content curator of IVM's exhibition "The street belongs to all of us!"; The street belongs to all of us!”.
Taoufik Souami, architect and urban planner, lecturer in urbanism and planning at the French Institute of Urban Planning (Université Paris-Est), member of the French scientific research Council’s “Urban Transformation Theory” unit, and scientific coordinator of City on the Move’s program "Climate change, urban mobility and Cleantech".