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Four S for an Urban Heritage Policy
Bianchi, Michaël


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Keywords :
Urban regeneration; Industrial heritage; Watchmaking Urbanism; urban morphology; public space
Abstract :
[en] As Vincent Veschambre points out, the long-term history of cities is based on recurrent processes of demolition and reconstruction. Cities which « have never stopped destroying and rebuilding on themselves » (Burgel, 2001), are subject to permanent regeneration. However, the notion of urban renewal or urban regeneration as used since the end of the 20th century in the so-called developed countries mostly refers to a set of public policies aimed at transforming cities in economic decline, most often in a context of deindustrialization (Veschambre, 2005). More precisely, Veschambre considers urban renewal as referring to « forms of recycling of disused or obsolete urban spaces », which implies that this process focuses on specific places and not on the whole city. Considering the case studied in this seminar, I suggest that it could also involve the configuration of the urban space itself, based on the characteristics that have been inscribed in it during the history of the city. From this point of view, the watchmaking urbanism of La Chaux-de-Fonds could be approached as a spatial heritage that could be questioned in a perspective of « regeneration ». This is at least the hypothesis addressed in this work. The context of deindustrialization is central to articulate urban regeneration, understood as a public policy of economic recovery, and industrial heritage, which appears as a potential resource in cities that have inherited buildings and spaces abandoned by industrial activity. The economic and symbolic valorization of these legacies is not self-evident. In particular, it leads to divergent interests between social groups in the choice of objects to be valued and in the way they are valued (Veschambre, 2005). It also raises questions about the ecological logic in these places, which are already severely damaged, and in some cases completely devitalized. I have chosen to approach these questions by studying the place that is given, or could be given, in the framework of urban regeneration policies, to the inhabitant uses of the territory, whether they are human (social) or non-human (biological). This problematic will be examined in La Chaux-de-Fonds and also in Charleroi, an industrial city which constitutes the field of my doctoral research.
Research center :
Heritage, Culture, Cities Group, Digital Humanities Insitute (DHI), EPFL
Disciplines :
Human geography & demography
Author, co-author :
Bianchi, Michaël  ;  Université de Liège - ULiège > Unité de Recherches de la Faculté d'Architecture (URA)
Language :
Title :
Four S for an Urban Heritage Policy
Publication date :
Event name :
Urban regeneration & Industrial heritage
Event organizer :
EPFL, Politecnico di Torino, Politecnico Milano
Event place :
Lausanne, Switzerland
Event date :
23-24 february 2023
Audience :
Development Goals :
11. Sustainable cities and communities
Available on ORBi :
since 11 November 2023


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