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Arlequin’s urban renewal : combining inhabitants’ expertise with professionals’ expertise for an urban design strategy, La Villeneuve neighbourhood, Grenoble, France.

3 août 2014,

Master Thesis, Master Design for Sustainable Development, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden, 3 août 2014.

| Travaux universitaires

Today, the co-production of urban renewal projects with inhabitants is claimed to be a necessity in France. These projects concern working-class neighbourhoods and aim at triggering their development. This master thesis studies how the involvement of inhabitants improves the quality of an urban renewal project. The study is based on the case of La Villeneuve neighbourhood, in Grenoble, France. A focus is on the Arlequin’s buildings where an urban renovation project is carried out today in a top down approach. In reaction to the lack of consultation with the inhabitants, a bottom up initiative has been organised in the neighbourhood through an Urban Workshop for the People.

First, a tool to involve a broad range of inhabitants in the production of an urban renewal project is explored. Therefore, a participatory intervention is carried out within the Urban Workshop for the People. The inputs from the inhabitants are translated into a strategic programme and design guidelines. These outcomes are then used to define a design strategy. Improved participatory tools are proposed, reflecting on the contribution of the participatory intervention and the quality of its outcomes.

Secondly the added value of the outcomes of the participatory process in an urban renewal project is studied. To do so, the outcomes from the participatory intervention and the analyse of the ongoing urban renovation project are combined in order to define a design strategy for the urban renewal of the Arlequin. The design strategy shows that a combination of the professionals’ and the inhabitants’ expertise produces an urban design paying attention both to the larger and the detailed scale. Furthermore, the combination of expertise permits to synchronise the social and the renovation dimensions.

The conclusion is that a combination of the inhabitants’ expertise and the professionals’ expertise seems useful to improve the quality of an urban renewal project. A participatory process managed by a neighbourhood Management Group and relating to the Participatory Action Research model can reach a broad range of inhabitants. A participatory process can give outputs to improve urban design and it can trigger the development of the neighbourhood.

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