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City and nature, a missed opportunity?

The city presents itself as a construction, an artefact, something that is not only artificial but curbs what is natural. Indeed many cities dominate their sites, whose relief and planting they do not hesitate to alter, diverting the river running through, turning their back on the sea or filling in a lake. However, the most flamboyant cities in the urban epoch--which is only 7-9000 years old according to the most reliable estimates--do adorn themselves with parks and gardens. We have only to think of Babylon, Baghdad, Granada, Samarkand and, closer to us, New York and Central Park or New Delhi, a park city designed by Edwin Landseer Lutyens and his landscape gardener Gertrude Jekyll, not forgetting London and its many green spaces. Contrary to a particularly tenacious idee recue, the 'demand for green', the 'landscaping approach', the 'defence of trees in cities' are not recent phenomena connected with a growing awareness of ecological issues or a wish to pursue a 'sustainable' type of town planning; they belong to a kind of ancient 'collective unconscious'--of course this is an image--which manifests itself from time to time, and definitely in times of 'crisis', whether or not it is perceived as such.

So, for example, the industrialization turning many regions upside down is causing significant migrations of people, making still denser towns that are already crowded and stifling, erecting working-class estates intermingled with factories and warehouses and taking no thought for Dame Nature. She appears on a windowsill as a geranium planted in a tin-can or along the avenues with their plane trees in proud rows. Emile Zola made a point of remarking on this physical lack that was perceptible in the inhabitants of big modern cities. He noted: 'Today Parisians display an immoderate love of the countryside. As Paris has grown the trees have retreated and the inhabitants, deprived of greenery, have lived with the constant dream of owning a corner of a field somewhere that is theirs. The poorest of them find a way to make a garden on their windowsill; some flowerpots kept in place by a plank; some sweet peas and beans nestle there. That way spring is brought into their homes for a few pence.' (1) Harried by a tough week's labour, the workers hoped to rest on Sunday, boating on the river, flirting in a cafe garden or else strolling in the woods; so they would catch the train and leave the town behind. The countryside--what was then the suburbs--recharged the batteries and provided a change, which did not escape the notice of those designing towns (they were not yet called 'town planners'), who wanted to bring together, combine, intermingle town and country, or at least their idea of those two social and cultural realities. Some even went so far as to idealize a little the medieval era or the Italian Renaissance, which, so they thought, accommodated nature and welcomed it within the walls of their towns. Others, such as Ebenezer Howard (1850-1928), advocated building 'garden cities' in order not only to transcend the town/country opposition, which was condemned throughout the 19th century by most social reformers, but especially to offer everyone pleasant living conditions, taking only their positive qualities from both town and country. Thus the garden city was surrounded by a 'green belt' with fields and meadows, and had within it public parks and private gardens. Over and above a planning style that mingled the built and the natural, what characterized the garden city was the cooperative spirit of its inhabitants. What Howard was aiming at was not a 'natural' envelope, a bucolic setting, but a social content that gave the garden city its value as a 'common good', and by 'common' we should understand what makes people committed to one another and not what they share between them. But it must be admitted that, more often than not, the garden city was merely a garden suburb, an improvement on an estate, a green island, without the communal richness Howard dreamed of.

However, the incredible popularity of the garden city planning model had the indisputable merit of forcing inhabitants, local councillors and designers to concern themselves with the relationship between town and nature. Land speculation, the commodification of the ground, the market value of the last square metre (which produced shameful overcrowding) provoked political reactions such as municipal ownership of land, the legal obligation to keep back so many square metres free in proportion to so many square metres built on, to open the gardens of some properties, to create green areas. Behind these measures were the health experts, but also the supporters of an 'urban aesthetic' and those who demanded the protection of landscapes, those 'natural monuments'. They formed a disparate body who sometimes disagreed but nonetheless protested against human settlements being made excessively inorganic. Following Camillo Sitte (1843-1903), a Viennese architect and author of Der Stadtebau nach seinen kunstlerischen Grundsatzen, Charles Buls (1837-1914), a mayor of Brussels in love with town design, Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier (1861-1930), who published Grandes villes et systemes de parcs (Hachette 1908) which was very much inspired by the achievements of Frederick Law Olmsted and the work of Eugene Alphand, whom he followed in the Service Autonome des Promenades et Plantations de la Ville de Paris, the Scot Patrick Geddes (1854-1932), proponent of the 'Outlook Tower', exhibitions of urban designs and regional studies, and many others theorized, experimented and propagated the healthy marriage of urban and landscape design.

Thinking the town with nature

At the First International City Conference in Ghent in 1913 the German botanist Hugo Conwentz (1855-1922) gave a talk entitled 'Cities and Nature', (2) in which he invited town councillors to acquire woods, 'green spaces' (espaces verts was the phrase he used, but it did not enter everyday French vocabulary till the 1960s), reserves for 'spontaneous nature', planted walks and 'educational gardens'. In his view future citizens should be taught from schooldays to respect the 'natural heritage' just as much as built monuments and to get to know the landscape. In the same year Robert de Souza, a post-Mallarme poet and co-founder with Jean Lahor (whose real name was Henri Cazalis, 1840-1909) of the Society for the Protection of Landscape, published a remarkable urban study, Nice capitale d'hiver. (3) The text presents a monograph of the city of Nice, its history, people, economic assets, festivals and seasonal activities, but it also offers a good synthesis of contemporary urban thinking (Sitte, Buls, Stubben, Henard, Risler, Unwin ...) and of the most interesting achievements, in his view, in Britain, Germany, Spain and the USA. Of course, as far as the obligatory extensions to Nice are concerned, he is determined to praise the site. His approach is resolutely 'landscape-ist' and he condemns the hostility of some property owners and a handful of city officials who refused to understand how much their town was one with the land it was built on. He indicates, as a 'good example' to consider, Leon Jaussely's plan for Barcelona with its tree-lined thoroughfares, its networks of green which connect neighbourhoods to each other.

Leon Jaussely (1875-1933) wrote the Preface to the French translation of the guide to urban planning composed by Raymond Unwin, (4) in which he states: 'If possible, achieve an intimate mingling of natural setting and urban environment, or, if the setting does not lend itself, bring nature into that environment by extensive planting. To bring the city-dweller's life closer to Nature is the second guiding principle from which the whole of the new theory of modern planning flows, in both its practical effects and its aesthetic.' Further on he salutes the 'garden city' ('we should not be in any doubt that it is the most significant town-planning phenomenon of our time'), but nonetheless he does not think it should be repeated on greenfield sites, so he hopes his principles will be taken as inspiration for beautifying existing towns. He links the 'garden city' with the 'system of parks' to produce a town overflowing with planting, 'open' spaces, green spots, shady avenues, public gardens and so on. His organic conception of the town, which was shared by his contemporaries (such as Marcel Poete, for instance) fits with this association of plants with buildings, both of them continually renewed, changing, and each at its own pace becoming a morpho-genesis with no true origin or end. But it must be admitted that reality was less idyllic. Green spaces were taken over by speculators, nature was degraded, debased, handed over, graceless blocks of flats and houses blithely contradicted and sabotaged the landscape. The authorities were in no hurry to carve out new parks, open a zoo, redesign a cemetery, landscape the banks of a river, plan a stadium and training grounds; they talked in fine speeches about the importance of the 'green lung' letting the town breathe, but practised a town planning with exemptions that increased the population and caused unacceptable traffic jams! It is true that, following the Urban and Rural Health Section created by the Musee Social in 1908, the members of the Ligue Urbaine, which was started in 1928 by Jean Giraudoux--and which became the Ligue Urbaine et Rurale in 1943--protested against the grid-locked, tarmac'ed, dehumanized city. (5) Gardens, trees, unbuilt spaces were essential for relaxation, rest and daydreaming. There was no satisfactory city life without the beauty of buildings and nature. Not a trace of backward-looking nostalgia in these demands; just as Ebenezer Howard had been a supporter of electric trams and trains serving his garden cities, Giraudoux and his friends did not snivel about soulless cities dependent on machines, not a bit of it; they were convinced that technical progress ought to contribute to the renaissance of cities and make them more open to nature. An admirer of Le Corbusier, he wrote the preface to the first edition of La Charte d'Athenes in 1943 and invited the 'daring' to reject 'the banality and insensitivity to be seen everywhere' and get more in tune with their times, to adopt the values of the civilization of the machine, implying that nature itself should play a full part in technical progress. Le Corbusier understood by 'conditions of nature' the triad: sun, space, greenery. (6) Sun was his first choice, hence the full-length windows, sun roofs and horizontal 'cells' of his 'unites d'habitation'. Greenery--a quite reductive vision of nature--occupied the ground left open by pilotis and formed the 'settings' in which he placed the 'historic monuments' he saved from destruction. With zoning, the high priests of the International Conferences of Modern Architecture (CIAM) allotted a function to nature, even though it avoided--fortunately!--any strictly utilitarian purpose.

As against 'moderns', the 'modernizers', standing together behind the flag that was the journal Urbanisme (started in 1932), defended another concept of the city and thus another way of doing town planning. (7) With its first issue, and in practically every subsequent one, the topic of nature in the city was discussed, less so during the 1950s, but once again from the 1960s with landscape designers writing articles (Jacques Simon, Jacques Sgard, Bernard Lassus and others). In the early issues it was more publicists or writers who seized on the subject, Leandre Viallat or Andre Vera (1881-1971). The latter, (8) who designed gardens, published an article with the explicit title 'Nature et urbanisme' in which he addressed the artist: 'Preserving and restoring landscapes are not projects sufficient to keep people close to nature. Designers must arrange encounters between them, making decisions about planting on open land, allotting a place on plans to trees.' He advocated planting a variety of species adapted to different positions and climates, replanting woods, encouraging Sunday gardeners, giving importance to the work of growers and lavishing more attention on the meanest strip of grass. The final sentence in his collection of articles L'Urbanisme ou la vie heureuse (which represents quite a programme ...) unfolds like a rallying cry: 'With town planning France will become a garden.' It appears that he adopted without too many problems Petain's ideology of 'return to the land', which he saw as taking place in the suburbs and in cities as well!

During the war Urbain Cassin (1890-1979) wrote Hommes Maisons Paysages. Essai sur l'environnement humain, (9) in which he studies the interrelationship between people and their environment and develops a doctrine for town planning. This combines several disciplines, among them human geography, which enables the planner to observe nature's laws and get from them a kind of principle to be applied in town plans: 'Order, Harmony, Beauty'. All that is hardly new and in the end not really contrary to the spirit of La Charte d'Athenes. 'Nature' is there, it pre-exists human beings, who domesticated it while respecting 'organic laws' that explain its 'evolution'. A generous discourse, granted, but above all a naive one that assumes humans will be able to control technical development and safeguard nature. This vision of 'nature' was not shared by all architects and urban designers; some who followed Howard and Geddes were not unaware of the dynamic peculiar to 'nature' and did not underestimate the culture activating it.

Architects Henry Wright (1878-1936) and Clarence Stein (1882-1975), who were close to Lewis Mumford, designed a town--Radburn, New Jersey (10)--that was in many respects experimental. The houses and their gardens surround a central park, lawns merge into one another in swathes of green, and nature unifies buildings with landscape. There is a hierarchy of mono-functional road systems: cars, bicycles and pedestrians have their own network, so, for example, children go to school by bike without any fear of being knocked down by a car. Similarly the noise environment is graduated: the further you go from tarmac roads and car parks the quieter it becomes, allowing you to hear birdsong, the rustle of wind in the branches and the intermittent sound of household appliances. This small town nestling in the countryside has a wealth of associations and 'neighbourhood units', refusing to be a luxury setting for well-off families. Its ambition is to discover an alternative to the model of the run-of-the-mill private estate, where everyone shuts the door on a home that is self-servingly cut off from others or from the densely populated neighbourhood, which favours loneliness but not solitude. Nature, an adventure land for children, is also a place for learning and familiarization, exercising a calming influence on everyone. City-dwellers can stroll through it, take some exercise, be conscious of their bodies, awaken their senses, become aware of variations in weather, changes in season, the state of the universe, the many-coloured hues of trees, plants and flowers; in short, the constant contact with nature reminds them how fragile human existence is, and how important their alliance with the Earth.

A French admirer of Lewis Mumford, Gaston Bardet, (11) also attacked functionalism--Le Corbusier was one of his favourite targets--and championed the legacy of Ebenezer Howard and the garden cities, Frank Lloyd Wright and Broadacre City with its 'neighbourhood units', appealing for a new urban design--or regional planning--whose purpose was to construct the 'federated city' composed of 'garden neighbourhoods'. 'The new urban design', he said, not without emphasis, 'must be biological; in that sense it will give priority to women and children. It should "feminize" the urban environment to incorporate nature and renewal in it; it should fulfil children's needs, the need to expand, let off steam, which are not adult needs.' Further on, still in lyrical mode, he states that 'the urban designer's basic mission is to be a pied piper of souls'. The mayor of the village of Rheu near Rennes was the only one to back him; in 1959 he commissioned a 'rural' plan. Gaston Bardet concocted a mix of Letchworth and Radburn with winding streets, cul-de-sacs, little squares, open spaces, covered walkways, private gardens that led into the public park, discreet fences and houses whose styles of architecture were relatively similar (slate roofs) and whose siting was calculated to avoid lines. It would be an idea to go and see those attempts at nature-friendly town planning, talk to the inhabitants, discover how it has stood the test of time.

After the war the destroyed and battered cities were rebuilt and in particular huge projects were launched to erect high-rise and horizontal blocks, the 'housing estates' put up on out-of-town sites in accordance with the principle of the crane's flight-path. They did have 'green spaces', but no gardens that had been planned, planted, loved. Little pocket-handkerchiefs of green, untended, scrappy, uncared-for, often harbouring cars, strewn with litter and dog leavings. Nevertheless they were planned for in the list of amenities for a housing estate known as the grille Dupont (1958), they were on the ground plans but they were very often a cosmetic add-on for a non-town that grew increasingly uninhabitable. 'To ensure the success of those green areas,' notes the landscape designer Isabelle Auricoste, 'maybe it would have been necessary from the outset to plan for introducing planting appropriate for those difficult spots that would develop, just as is currently done on motorway embankments, for instance. A policy of replanting followed by careful management would probably have been more faithful to the intention of bringing nature and town closer together.' (12) Areas of social housing in suburban districts are cruelly lacking in parks designed as an integral part of the lived environment. The greenery they do have around comes from the gardens carved out by neighbouring private houses, the few allotments or family plots still operating and those that are part of the town's amenities. Some refurbishments of housing estates do not stop at repainting the stairwells and putting in entry phones, they rethink completely the siting of the buildings, they redesign their form and in particular they intermingle the built and the natural. Green spaces are no longer a justification for some aesthetic or other but an integral element in the urban plan.

What kind of nature in towns?

For some years now in France--but not only in France (13)--those whose job is concerned with urban planning (architects, landscape and urban designers) have been cooperating from the start of the programme and trying to combine their expertise, and especially to do the thinking together. We should not daydream and imagine that henceforth these skills will enrich each other. Not at all. 'Residential enclaves' offer a standardized backdrop of planting to their audience which is primarily concerned with security. The builder-designed house in no particular style, perched on a raised garage, does not harmonize with the garden, which in any case is merely a sort of low-maintenance lawn on which to put the children's climbing frame, the barbecue and the dog kennel. The diffuse and generalized urban environment (14) in which most town-dwellers live shows a sovereign contempt for nature. Nature is consumed, which means subordinated to the inhabitants'/predators' demands alone. It is like a readily available store: of wood for the hearth, of paths for walks, of flowers to pick, of blackberries to harvest, etc. There has to be a serious incident for inhabitant A's view of nature to change--a storm, a drought, floods, a fire ... An entirely different attitude of mind is required to see the human as being part of nature, part of the living world. A nature that we fence in with our technologies, exploit, waste, a nature we do not respect--and which sometimes rebels. Science-fiction writers and cartoon-book artists looking into the future take delight in 'naturalizing' cities, growing roots of trees out of all proportion so that skyscrapers crack apart and crumble; rivers overflow their normal course, submerging their banks, running into whole neighbourhoods; wild animals come into town and attack pets and their owners! This apocalyptic--and unwelcome--vision has met with other reactions.

In the early 1960s in New York some associations revived Jacob Riis's 'pocket-handkerchief gardens' introduced in 1897 (15) and they transformed a 'gaptooth', a minute vacant lot, an abandoned site, an unwelcoming street corner into temporary gardens or children's playgrounds or restful spots for the elderly. In France Jean-Pierre Charbonneau created 'neighbourhood gardens' in Lyon and some Parisians opened their 'shared gardens'. In 2004 there were 12 of them, managed by associations with town hall support: they are urban nooks that are 'free' for the moment and are worked (flowers and vegetables), often with the help of a local school. Paris has 426 public gardens and parks, two woods (Boulogne and Vincennes) and 1000 'protected enclosed green spaces'--areas at least 500 metres square that are inaccessible to the general public such as school playgrounds, hospital or government gardens or those belonging to religious orders or private individuals.

Every year capital cities compete with each other as to their--rather ridiculous--area of green space per inhabitant. Tokyo rejoices in top spot, with Madrid hard on its heels, reunified Berlin adds together both sectors' parks London tends its eight parks in accordance with tradition and Paris embarks on the refurbishment of its zoo. All across the world joggers swarm through the parks, more concerned about timing their run or monitoring the kilos they have finally shed than with the peace around them, the beauty of the cedar touched by the rays of the setting sun, the scent of the new-mown grass, the pair of lovers embracing on the bench or that child fascinated by the determined single-file advance of an army of ants. It is true that urban nature is drugged up to the eyeballs (chemical fertilisers, automatic watering, draconian selection), that it is as artificial as the city and that the jogger is happy with a track whose surface is treated so that rain is quickly absorbed. The city/nature relationship is basically cultural, so historical and consequently changing. The 'Paris plage' (Paris-on-sea) set-up meets with universal approval even though it is anti-natural. The theatrical reproduction of an abstract seaside is amusing and liked by a lot of curious visitors, but being able to swim and row in the Seine could be a different sign of benevolence towards nature, could it not?

What can we retain from this swift, incomplete tour around the urban designers' world? The belief that their conception of the city always includes nature. Indeed modernity's city, the ever-changing city--whose birth goes back to Haussmann--assigns to nature a prime position. Granted it is still the city as spectacle--people stroll about to show themselves off and also to stare at others, who are envied or laughed at--and its beautification is achieved by increasing the total of squares, gardens, planted walks and parks and woods. The future Napoleon III, whose role in transforming the capital was decisive, appreciated the abundance of green spaces when he was living in exile in England and the USA, and he insisted to Baron Haussmann that Paris should have a large number of parks. This was done: Parc Monceau, Parc Montsouris, Buttes-Chaumont and other smaller ones aerate the city and bring a unheard breath to it. Subsequently, both among Haussmann's opponents, such as Robert de Souza or Charles Buls, who attacked the great rectilinear boulevards and favoured meandering streets, and also among the rationalist hygienists, who supported wide avenues, there were many people who agreed on the presence of trees in towns and the proliferation of small gardens. Similarly, some decades later, followers of the Charte d'Athenes, as well as some of its opponents, found common ground in advocating the combination of buildings and greenery. And nowadays, 'landscaping everywhere' (which is another way of mixing town and nature) is increasingly tending to dominate 'urbanistically correct' discourse, particularly as this links up with 'sustainable development'. Could there be a kind of unchanging sensitivity to nature in town that runs through the ages and assumes now the shape of garden cities, then the form of the ecological neighbourhood with buildings sprouting grass and flowers? To answer that question would require a comparative geo-history of models of towns and ideas on city and nature in order to track down connections, pinpoint borrowings, interpret both similarities and contradictions.

But we should be aware of this desire for a nature-city and try to understand its significance at the start of the 21st century, which is witnessing the triumph of the concrete megalopolis entirely enslaved to streams of cars and diffuse forms of urbanization that blur the boundaries between built and natural more than they harmonize them. Over a century and a half ago in Europe and the USA, urbanization went hand-in-hand with industrialization and made an effort to reduce its side-effects. The 'garden city' seemed like an antidote to the pollution pumped out by factories. Living healthily requires the most natural environment possible, hence the migration to the countryside and a certain zoning of activities. The European promoters of the 'garden city' were often eugenicists (we think of course of Theodor Frisch, 1852-1933, a notorious German anti-semite and theoretician of the Garten-Stadt, but also the French socialist Henri Steller, 1883-1943, mayor of Suresnes and Health Minister in the Front Populaire) without necessarily claiming to be anti-city and technophobe. In the USA the myth of the 'little house on the prairie' cultivated by Thomas Jefferson turns up again with Frank Lloyd Wright, but without demonizing the city or rejecting technical advance. Between these two, Ralph Emerson or David Thoreau reintroduced the human into the living and turned nature into a complex whole, which bound them together permanently. Europeans do not subscribe to that conception of nature. So there are other forms of urbanization that sometimes have similar--but not identical--features, such as the distribution of housing over the land. Though the contemporary European city has some family resemblances to the contemporary North American city, it does not share the same scale as regards land occupation or the same perception of the space inhabited. What makes a 'landscape' in the USA, for example, does not do so in old Europe. These cultural differences, inscribed in the geography, are getting even wider at a time when in Europe the city is taking over the country and submerging the towns. This city without country or old-style town imposes a uniformity of way of life and the supremacy of mobility over settledness. Nature is dependent on the city, on its networks criss-crossing it and the uses it promotes (tourism, heritage, agriculture and so on). As we can see, the same word ('nature') did not denote the same realities in Baron Haussmann's time as in Rem Koolhaas's. It is clear that the 'demand for nature' expressed by Zola's characters has no connection at all with that of today's consumers, whether they live in a detached house less than ten minutes from a motorway feeder or in the old centre of a medium-sized town. Nevertheless an anthropological fact still continues to hold true: human beings' living ('living' meaning 'being-present-in-the-world-and-for-others') requires both the 'with' and the 'amid' nature to be fully realized. (16) The town has a date with nature, just as the moon has with the sun, but it does not know it. Is that the end of the matter? No, a story to be continued.

Thierry Paquot

Institut d'urbanisme de Paris, Paris XII-Val-de-Marne

Translated from the French by Jean Burrell


(1.) Emile Zola (1882), Le Capitaine Burle et autres contes. The edition referred to is 1983, Geneva, Famot, p. 225.

(2.) H. Conwentz (1913), 'Les Villes et la Nature', Ghent, Publication of the First International City Conference, 27 July to 2 August 1913, pp. 1-10.

(3.) Robert de Souza (1913), Nice capitale d'hiver, Paris-Nancy, Berger-Levrault, 518 pages, many plans and maps and a few photos.

(4.) Leon Jaussely, 'Avertissement', in Raymond Unwin, L'Etude pratique des plans de villes. Introduction a l'art de dessiner les plans d'amenagement et d'extension, Paris, Librairie Centrale des Beaux-Arts, undated (undoubtedly 1929). The first English edition was published in 1909: Town Planning in Practice: An Introduction to the Art of Designing Cities and Suburbs, London, T. Fisher Unwin. Readers are also referred to Jean-Yves Puyo (2001), 'L'Urbanisme selon Leon Jaussely', in Vincent Berdoulay and Paul Claval (eds), Aux debuts de l'urbanisme francais, Paris, L'Harmattan, pp. 119-32, and Vincent Berdoulay and Olivier Soubeyran (2002), L'Ecologie urbaine et l'urbanisme. Aux fondements des enjeux actuels, Paris, La Decouverte.

(5.) 'Regards sur la Ligue et ses Cahiers', Les Cahiers de la Ligue Urbaine et Rurale, 100, 1988, and Cahiers Jean Giraudoux, edited by Cecile Chombard-Gaudin, Paris, Grasset, 22, 1993, which brings together scholarly studies on the author's town planning writing as well as several of his articles.

(6.) Le Corbusier (1957), La Charte d'Athenes, Paris, Minuit. For a fairly hagiographic reading of the master, see Le Corbusier et la nature, Paris, Les Rencontres de la Fondation Le Corbusier, 1991, and for a more critical view, 'La Charte d'Athenes, et apres?', Urbanisme, 330, May/June 2003, and Adolf Max Vogt (2003), Le Corbusier, le bon sauvage. Vers une archeologie de la modernite infolio, Gollion-CH.

(7.) Helene Vacher (1999), 'La Naissance d'Urbanisme ou "l'art du stratege"', Urbanisme, 306, May/June, pp. 27-31.

(8.) Andre Vera (1939), 'Nature et urbanisme', Urbanisme, 68; (1936), L'Urbanisme ou la vie heureuse, Paris, Correa; and Jean-Pierre Le Dantec (2002), Le Sauvage et le Regulier. Arts des jardins et paysagisme en France au XXe siecle, Paris, Le Moniteur, pp. 87 et seq and pp. 140 et seq.

(9.) Hommes Maisons Paysages. Essai sur l'environnement humain, Paris, Plon, 1946. In a 'postface' placed oddly at the start of the book, the author explains that 'during the dark hours of the occupation' he regularly used to meet friends in a room in the Touring Club de France and together they dreamed about reconstructing and enhancing national 'beauties'. An engineer and architect--the ship terminal at Le Havre, Beaujon Hospital and the Maine-Montparnasse project are his work--he was also very involved in the life of the profession.

(10.) C.S. Stein (1973), Towards New Towns for America, Cambridge, MIT Press; Eugene Ladner Birch (1980), 'Radburn and the American Planning Movement. The Persistence of an Idea', in Journal of The American Planning Association, 46, 4, pp. 424-39, and Robert Wojtowicz (1996), Lewis Mumford and American Modernism, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

(11.) Jean-Louis Cohen (1978), 'Gaston Bardet, un humanisme a visage urbain', AMC, 44, February, pp. 74-84; Jean-Pierre Frey (2001), 'Gaston Bardet, theoricien de l'urbanisme "culturaliste", Urbanisme, 319, July/August, pp. 32-6. Among Gaston Bardet's prolific works, readers are referred especially to Missions de l'urbanisme, Paris, Editions ouvrieres/Economie et Humanisme, 1949.

(12.) Isabelle Auricoste (1994), 'Le Vert dans la cite', Informations Sociales, 33, pp. 47-53.

(13.) Ariella Masboungi (ed.) (2002), Penser la ville par le paysage, Paris, Projet urbain/Editions de La Villette; Augustin Berque (1999), 'Ville et architecture, annees 2000: quelle cosmicite?', in Chris Younes (ed.), Ville contre-nature. Philosophie et architecture, Paris, La Decouverte; Didier Rebois (1999), 'La Nature dans le projet urbano-architectural', ibid.; Gilles Clement (1999), 'Le Jardin pour la maison de l'homme', ibid.; Chris Younes (2000), 'Natures et Villes en mouvement', Urbanisme, dossier 'Europe: ville et nature', 314, September/October, pp. 68-74.

(14.) Thierry Paquot (2003), 'Que savons-nous de la ville et de l'urbain?', De la ville et du citadin, Marseille, Parentheses, pp. 15-32.

(15.) Whitney North Seymour Jr (ed.) (1969), Small Urban Spaces. The Philosophy, Design, Sociology and Politics of Vest-Pocket Parks and Other Small Urban Open Spaces, New York, New York University Press.

(16.) Augustin Berque (2000), Ecoumene. Introduction a l'etude des milieux humains, Paris, Belin; Augustin Berque with Maurice Sauzet (2004), Le Sens de l'espace au Japon. Vivre, penser, batir, Paris, Arguments; and Thierry Paquot (2005), Demeure terrestre. Enquete vagabonde sur Thabiter', Paris, Editions de l'Imprimeur.
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Date:Aug 1, 2005
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