Geneva workshop 2016 | Living tomorrow in a low-density city

24 September 2016 - 01 October 2016   —  
The Eco-Century Project®
— Workshop

Living tomorrow in a low-density city | Intensive prospective analysis workshop at the Berges de Vessy
24 September – 1 October 2016

The Swiss Federal Law on Spatial Planning – known as LAT 2013 – is a radical game-changer regarding the objectives and modalities of Swiss urban planning for the years to come. It imposes strict rules for constructions nationwide, favouring the densification of existing urban areas in order to further preserve the agricultural and natural heritage.

Chosen by popular vote, this new orientation raises the issue of density in Swiss cities. Functions, forms and representations are evolving, starting with negotiations between players, agglomeration plans and master plans, leading to concrete projects, engines of new social dynamics.

At the dawn of what many call a “paradigm shift” in favour of sustainable development, the potential for development of urban areas remains a question that is open to many interpretations. This is the case of low density sectors. Despite their different forms, residential areas, intermediate neighbourhoods, collective housing estates, peri-urban agricultural sectors, etc. often share the same basic rate of inhabitants per hectare.

What is the future of these town parts that are subject to multiple contradictory pressures? How will they be densified, or not? What will their future productive, social and symbolic functions be for a population that is also rapidly changing?

As part of the Eco-Century Project® of the Braillard Architects Foundation, the Geneva School of Engineering, Architecture and Landscape, the Urban Planning Institute of Grenoble and the National School of Architecture of Grenoble organised an intensive prospective analysis workshop in the Geneva sector defined to the south by the Arve and the Berges de Vessy, to the north by Lake Geneva and the Parc de la Grange, to the west by the Parc Alfred Bertrand and to the east by the Franco-Swiss border at Annemasse.

The discussion focused on the scenarios to be considered for the evolution of this city area and its ability to align with the ecological imperatives of the 21st century.