Global warming: why do cities need to be repaired?

The urban model has not followed the evolution of our use and lifestyle over the years. The architects and urban planners Christine Leconte and Sylvain Grisot contribute ideas about the future of the city in Let’s fix the city at Apogee Editions. An essay highlighting the importance of “repairing the city”, whose buildings and urban areas are at the heart of the challenges of the climate crisis.

in the test Let’s fix the city edited by Editions Apogée, Christine Leconte, architect and president of the National Council of the Order of Architects of France and Sylvain Grisot, urban planner and founder of the agency, draw the observation of the city’s inadequacy with our fashion of life , our use and consumption.

Today the city is not broken. Rather, the term “recovery” corresponds to a form of adjustment. “Our lifestyle has changed and we have to adapt to this evolution”says Sylvain Grisot.

Through this essay, published in February 2022 in the form of a conversation between the two authors, the latter aims to question the city and its use (from mobility to the use of its streets through the place of green spaces). At the end of each chapter, they propose solutions to accompany this important change for this topic, which has been largely forgotten in political debates.

The city, the worst enemy of global warming

In the midst of an environmental crisis, the observation is clear. Construction actively contributes to global warming and city dwellers are affected. Energy, CO2 emissions, soil pollution, energy sources, the production of our cities costs a lot.

“It is the activity that consumes the most mineral resources and produces the most waste in France. †

According to Sylvain Grisot, until now “cities have been built as objects of consumption”. The accommodations are designed according to the standards and produced in industrial quantities. This way of designing ensures economies of scale and amortization of costs.

The construction of the new is privileged and settles in empty spaces, agricultural or natural areas, while many offices and old buildings are abandoned. The authors believe that this ‘disposable city’ model must end.

The place is no longer for novelty, but for the reuse of already built spaces. However, this does not mean the end of the construction. The city of 2050 already exists for 80%. The remaining 20% ​​will be an individualized novelty, built with “much more demands” and “hand-stitched”.

Different territories and different logic: the local response

Each area faces specific challenges. A very touristic city on the coast will not respond to the same logic as a very densely populated city in, for example, Île-de-France. That is why Sylvain Grisot finds it necessary to “see cities differently” so that “everyone finds his way”.

In line with his work “Circular Urbanism Manifesto” published by Éditions Apogée, the author and urban planner recalls the role of territories in the genesis of the city. Depending on the place, expertise, agricultural resources or even cultural know-how are very specific. “Every city has its solution”, responds the urban planner. By working together, the actors of the production chain can achieve results.

In Let’s fix the cityChristine Leconte and Sylvain Grisot illustrate this focus with the example of hemp cultivation in Île-de-France. “Farmers in the Ile-de-France have started producing hemp and straw by wanting to invest in the construction market. Many architects are also trained in building with these materials, but struggle to find commissions », the researchers write. In 2017, the architects of the Order of Île-de-France settled at the Salon de l’Agriculture to get closer to the decision-makers to find collaborations.

change speech

Today, the development and construction of the city is thought out in silos and independently. “We look for solutions in the wasteland or in the suburbs”, says Sylvain Grisot. But it is above all an interdependent system. “We cannot conceive of urban planning without mobility”or architecture without ecology.

In order to set these changes in motion, the discourse has to change. Citizens, but also and above all decision-makers, must in turn address this question in order to bring out new stories. “Stop making people want cities, but build a city that makes them want to live there”concludes Sylvain Grisot.

(ETX Daily Up)

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