Vol. 41, No. 1 (2012)
Publication Date: 2013-01-31
Number of articles: 11
In less than four decades, waterways and wetlands of Western cities have been moved from marginal and repellent zones to attractive spaces for urban societies. Numerous French directives concerning their quality in terms of ecology, culture and landscaping are testifying this fact. The 1930 protective laws concern the Erdre valley in the Nantes region as well as the marsh of Bourges. On the Loiret River in Orléans and in the old town centre of Châlons-en-Champagne, river banks have become part of areas of valorisation of architecture and heritage (i.e. ZPPAUP). Also the quays of the Seine in Paris and of the Garonne in Bordeaux, as well as the cities of Lyon and Albi, le Val de Loire are water landscapes registered in UNESCO. This paper tries to understand the actual interest in heritage of water landscape by the inhabitants. This attraction is replaced by the developments of urban projects on the aesthetic and functional requalification. We will focus this study on cities in the Parisian area (Amiens, Bourges, Châlons-en-Champagne, Evreux, Orléans, Tours, Troyes…) to produce a geohistoric, diachronic and dynamic study. There are two objectives: on one side to identify and theorising the relationship with water across time and space in order to highlight the historical and sociocultural importance of water landscape and the conditions of their inscription in the local heritage; on the other side to decipher the water landscape in the studied cities through the specificity of their history and realisation. This document uses works of historians and geographers, archives and interviews with local actors. Closely related to the city, the waterways and wetlands allow a new understanding of urban heritage.
In 1954, the newly tabled Dozois plan provided for the elimination of a slum area to make way for the building of the Habitations Jeanne-Mance social housing complex. With the launching of such an operation, the City of Montreal took a first concrete step toward curbing an evil that was affecting inner-city neighbourhoods: the depreciation of the old housing stock. This may also be seen as part of an emerging historic preservation movement. By exploring the history of urban planning in Montreal up until the creation of Save Montreal association in 1973, we can observe a transformation in the ways in which the built environment was actually seen. The juxtaposition of notions of slum and heritage places us at the heart of a mutation that radically transformed urban planning once and for all.
Since the end of the 1960s, the archaeologist Raymond Lemaire, professor at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, has contributed to the questioning of the urban renovation methods adopted by the technical department of the City of Brussels administration for the most ancien districts of the historic centre. Through his role as an expert for the association « Quartier des Arts », he is entrusted with several studies aiming at the adoption of normative plans for some building blocks of high heritage interest. This allows him to put the principles he contributes to define, at the same moment, within international organizations such as ICOMOS or the Council of Europe, to the test of reality. Our contribution aims, through the significant example of the renovation of the « Sainte-Anne district », to throw light on this key moment of Brussels urbanism's recent history and to take a critical look at Raymond Lemaire's work.
Between the mid-1970s and the mid-1980s there was a wave of citizen-initiated preservation activity in Washington, DC, much of it directed towards identifying and expanding neighbourhood historic districts. These efforts were driven by several different events and influences that coalesced in the period: a new sense of local control that came with the establishment of municipal self-government in the District of Columbia after 1975; the expectation that a comprehensive historic preservation law would be enacted in the district; the U.S. Supreme Court's affirmation of the legality of preservation controls in 1978; and the renewed salience of the idea of place that affected everything from community art and neighbourhood activism to urban design and architectural theory. This paper addresses this moment of intense activity by investigating the ways in which preservation advocates in one neighbourhood, Dupont Circle, sought to expand their historic district. The proposal to add several square miles of new territory to the designated historic area was led by a predominantly white preservation organization, the Dupont Circle Conservancy. The proposal aroused significant opposition from a group calling itself the 14th and U Street Coalition, which styled itself as the representative of African-American interests and historical identity in neighbouring Shaw. They protested that the Dupont Circle preservationists were attempting to annex their neighbourhood and with it, their history. At first glance this conflict appears to be a predictable case of inner city gentrification fought along the lines of racial identity. But when examined more carefully, the series of claims and counter-claims embedded in the conflict exposed a more nuanced set of issues related to skin tone, class, and historical entitlement. The conflict highlighted the absence of any agreement about what constituted the historicity of such a historic area and cast doubt over who might be qualified speak on behalf of the history contained in such an area.
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