European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research -

COST Action C11


Marseille, France - meeting of Management Committee for Cost Action C11 - 20 to 22 May 2001

Greenspace in Marseille

Leisure and Greenspaces in Marseilles

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This page contains background information about Greenspace in Marseille

The action "Greenstructures and urban planning", supported by the European Commission, program "COST C11" (COST : Cooperation in the field of scientific and technical research) gathers together researchers whose main general objective is to reach a better understanding of: the role played by greenstructure in planning, design and management; the interactions between green and built areas; improving the way green areas contribute to the quality of life of urban citizens, to the quality of habitats as a basis for biodiversity and to other aspects of sustainable urban development.

The work of the network is fed by comparative analysis, at the project level and the policy level, which takes place in the fourteen countries that are signatories of the action : Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Specific topics were defined in the Memorandum of Understanding, by the contributions added on the website and through the relevant issues raised in preliminary discussions at the first and second meetings (Brussels, 15 September 2000 and Sheffield,1-2 December 2000, respectively).

This document was prepared for the meeting in Marseille; this example was chosen to investigate the evolution of the place of nature in a mediterranean town. Special attention is paid to the areas immediatly adjacent to the dense part of the city.

This case study will focus on greenstructure as a heritage and the waysof managing this heritage in planning.

In Marseille this heritage mainly stems from the 19th century; it has been largely destroyed by 20th century urban development.

Today some people are trying to save what is left, and so the pressureon building is heavy again (including from the view point of limiting the sustainable urban sprawl), and as a result the modern lifestyle does not give the greenstructure the importance that it had in the past.

The main example of that heritage is the mansions (les "bastides"). 5000 of them were known in 1847; 200 are still identified as interesting in the local plan, but only about 10 are legally protected.

A second example is the canal, diug in the 19th century, which brought water from the river Durance into the city.

The case study also deals with private contributions to the greenstructure, since the main problem with this landscape heritage is to maintain or use it for private building.

Finally, the case study brings elements for the typology of greenstructures.



Ann-Caroll Werquin, Bernard Duhem, May 2001.



I. Introducing Marseille, general framework

• A town belonging to three cultural identities.

• A very dense city within low-density urban areas and numerous old villages ribbons.


II. Materials for the case study

• Simplified typology of the greenstructure (on Marseille's

civic parish land.

Topography, green sites and open spaces common to the civil parish,

In the densely populated town, the "grey town",

In the low-density parts, the "green town".

• The stakes in the "green town".

• Appraisal issues and planning tools.


III. Focusing on the "Bastides" area of the northern part.


Annex :

• The feeder giving water to Marseille's grey

and green town.

• The Belsunce Urban Walk.

• Some tools for urban planning : Guidance for regional

planning ("DTA"), Landscape Plan, Preservation area for

architectural, urban and rural heritage.



This paper is based on research by:

Dominique BECQUART, Georges DEMOUCHY, INAMA (School of Architecture of Marseille-Lumigny, Jean-Marc CHANCEL, René BORRUEY), INSEE Paca, P. Langevin et E. Chouraqui, André LORTIE, Municipality of Marseille (website), Michel PERALDI, Marcel Roncayolo, Christian TAMISIER, local and national newspapers.

See the bibliography for details.


A town belonging to three cultural identities.


The town lies between the sea and Provence, being also close to the outfall of the River Rhône.

The coastal position is not only the key to the foundation of the town, it is also the very first point of reference, in Marseilles people's minds and in visitor's minds. The centre is at the Old Port, where the urban landscape recalls the history of France's oldest town.


A Mediterranean port, a town of trans-shipment, the importance of foreigners ... these features are evident in so many details, even though being Marseillais nowadays rarely means being a longshore fisherman, and even though the town wealth was due in past times more to the manufacturing of raw materials rather than to trade itself.

The sea and the rocky coast belong indeed to the city image and maybe have a special relation to its density: a very high urban density withn a well-defined perimeter, representing only a small part of the town as a whole. It is, then, a typical Mediterrean, populated and intricate built-up city in its patterns of narrow streets and in its urban spaces.


How is Marseille organised in relation to the soil of Provence ?


The town boundaries are defined by hill slopes, valuing the relation to the seashore and creating a special status for the town, being both influenced by the meso-climate of Provence (in vegetation and climate) and by the seaside conditions (wind, dryness, rocks), giving a sort of independence.


Marseille appears to some extent more a town of interaction of Mediterranean worlds than a town of Provence soil.


A very dense city within low-density urban areas and numerous old village ribbons.


Surrounding the "grey city" is a "green city". According to civic parish records, the town owned the countryside around (24 000 ha) in former times. It succeeded in the 19 th century in providing citizens with copius water to create farms, with cattle and grazing meadows, and in organising shady, greened and treed resting places, converting the harsh conditions of the local climate.

This territory, made up of rich estates, second homes (comfortable or humble), and farms - all realms behind walls and not evident from the confined paths - was considered part of the town itself because of the customs and ways of living, and as part of the city, it participated fully in the functions of general urban life.


The town's relationship with the suburban countryside was a specific feature of Marseille (and ofother Mediterranean towns), since the town resisted the development of the usual urban sprawl for a very long time, with suburbia spreading unevenly ; in contrast, there were large unspoiled green areas with old ribbon developments and, more recently, urban developments, until the last two decades of the 20th century.


Having reached the highest point, linked with an acme in industrial richness in the middle of the 19th century, which led to the creation of the water-feeder (Marseille's canal), and after quite a long, steady period, there was an increased lack of balance between green and urban in the town after World War II. The rich estates vanished or were transformed, the pressure of urbanisation changed the looks and meaning of this special soil.


Some sectors lost their value, in social and economic terms : selling prices,popularity, quality of life (neighbourhoods on the northern periphery), becoming heavily built up with a large amount of social estates in the 1960s and 1970s. These areas had been designated over a long period for the use of vegetation and water, and provided spectacular seascapes and scenic views, giving them a very strong identity, all features which could be considered as an opportunity and a benefit for the change of scale in the urban laying out and planning of space.


The attention paid to urbanisation close to the seaside probably made the consuming of land on theother side not so readily visible, in part resembling disorder, sometimes disruption, irrespective of existing sites and acting as an audacious challenge for the town, making the territory become within a few years just land to be filled with urbanisation and equipement, protecting only a very few historic mansions.


It took on the image of the current outskirts and of low-density urban areas, instead of the specificity of a Mediterranean town.


Today the transformation has spread over almost all the territory, especially in the north part. The green city is a mix of buildings, social estates, individual houses (planned unit devopments) and plots of land, reminiscent of the site at a given date, parks traces (trees, etc.), agricultural fields, walkways and other features of a previous hardscape: planted drives, channels - all of which are the foot prints of the planning of space over centuries, and of elements added in order to create a soil that will yield the highest quality of life despite the climate.

It should be noted that the numerous old village ribbons, previously providing urban services for the extensive areas of countryside, made a network that can still be found on the map and in the landscape, although they are diminishing day by day. These points of density have various functions, the important one of which provides the dwellers with roots in the local history of this suburban countryside.


All cities have undergone radical morphological mutations while moving into modern era, and have generated types of urban space that are completely new and in which greenstructure plays a part.

Urban areas increased and so did road traffic; large areas became attractive for residential puposes, competition between nearby towns increased, dwellers' demands were at odds ; the way the nearness of outdoor spaces was looked at was modified, identifiyint their cultural meaning, etc.

How can we react, and should we accept the disruption of significant land, as suburbs and countryside, when making changes to suit the current demands ?

About this scope of questions, what materials bring the case study dealing with Marseille ? Nowadays, to what is looking like this specific heritage? What did Marseille and intend to do to manage its suburban countryside ? How can we assess greenstructure elements in the ongoing urban planning proceedings ? What are the concerns of the actors and what tools are they using or wishing to use ?


Materials for the case study,

(Inventory grid with assessment grading, specific concerns)

Simplified typology of the greenstructure, civilparish of Marseille (to name relevant forms).



Outdoors green spaces are recorded to give a general idea of Marseille's greenstructure.

Ranging of these green components is done with grading their importance to indicate their right of represention.


Special qualities can be applied to the whole city, coming from the geography, the contour and grade of landsurface of the urban site, and are listed in the beginning, components of the grey city are following, then the ones of the green disperse territory.

The harbour spaces are on the border of both tissues.


A few of these elements will be depicted further on, to focus on special questions relative to greenstructure, zooming on a kind of place, with a short portraiture, or on a policy, tool or proceedings used for ackowledgment of parts played by some urban greenspaces.



List of public greened spaces and natural environment inside the civil parish, bringing quality to the whole city :


- High points and contour lines (topography) have special importance to the whole town. High points give highly scenic seascapes and turn the building into a landmark ; it permit interesting views from a lot of different places (from grey and green parts of town) but most of such high points are inside private properties (e.g. terraced gardens in the typical country mansions).

The church of Notre-Dame de la Garde, is an highly attractive place, offering a public open space, greened, and being the most relevant landmark for the town, the image of the city.

The oppurtunity of developing such landmarks was not enlarged in the setting of new housing areas thereupon much scenic views exist in the countryside, located on slopes, even on roads.

- strong features of the natural environment surrounding the built environment, such as rocky-coves (calanques) and native ras-vegetation associating (garrigues) ringing as a natural green belt. These plots of land are maintened in static conditions, by legal preservation constraints (scenic easement) and by the Local plan.


In the grey city :



• Drives/ walks/ boulevards : urban forms with pluri-functions: (pedestrians and road-traffic), basic public spaces : strolling along the walk, social contacts, commercial purpose, importance for dayly life. The grey town is offering for three centuries the same walks with a good efficency : "Cours Belsunce", Allées Meilhan (put in the Canebière), "Cours Pierre Puget" (previously ramparts) places easy for coffe-shop terraces, all sorts of markets, functions being more abundant in popular areas.

• The Old Port : is the main public plaza, built on three sides, open to everyone and often busy. Water is representing wildlife ; in a glance, you can enter different historic periods.

• Public gardens in town (not a very large range) and a few private gardens having an impact on public space (Prefect-office, ...),

• The avenues, public plazas and their trees (often associating trees and fountain), trees brought into alinement, forming shaded voults upon the public space created to make the city beautiful and comfortable. In this heading such boulevards (large lanes) are more to improve the appearance of the area than to answer social demand of outdoor spaces (le Prado/ boulevard Michelet, ...)


• Outdoor spaces in private properties, Such planted spaces are not frequent. Some specific programs occured in the 19th century (e.g. quartier Longchamp), upgrading living in town for the wealthy, forming a contrast with the historical city core.


The town is modernising at a relatively late stage, compared with several European large harbour-cities. Amid the on-going projects, take place : reclamation of damaged areas in central town (Belsunce, la Canebière), of public spaces and derelict areas, harbour factories (Euroméditerranée, St Charles railway station, with new headquarters ..), attempts to slow down the car traffic in central areas ( Circulations plan, improving the underground offer, and creating special paths for buses ...).


In the low-dense, green town, suburb and countryside :


Fragmentation in development of areas, large range of green spaces, various streetscapes and landscapes, a mix of areas of farm-land, high-density villageous-nodes, mansions-estates hardscape elements and sudden transformations to accomadate urban growth, pressures , fast access roads and highways ...: all these features to be found in the "green town" establish a deep characteristic soil but also an injured area, sometimes largeled damaged, in which future is at stake considering several points of view.

Components :

• Numerous private gardens going with the individual housing, and semi-private gardens of the high-rise blocks of flats (residential dwellings or government-sponsored housing ,

• Typical country mansions and estates: "Bastides" (see more further on) preserved or transformed, traces of the parks suiting them such as trees lanes (allée de la Maurelette...), ; representing a symbol of the Town itself, something to be proud of, an heritage of the wealthy period,

• the beach of Prado and its recent public park and lawns: equivalent to the Old Port ? Main public space and very busy place ; recent way of valuing water resource coming from the feeder, and an acute way of enjoying much of the sea (surf...),

• Public gardens and parks, specific natural areas with native plants,

• Leasure spaces, derelict places, open plots of land linked with factories and shopping centers.....

• Farm-land in urban periphery,

• Marseille's channel (water-feeder),

• Streetscapes : narrow shaded paths and country roads,

• Walks, Trees in rows along roads and "allées", belonging to the high-dense old nodes,

• Family-allotments,

• Valleys Vallée de l'Huveaune, du Jaret...


• others ?


The stakes in the green town.


Leading to metropolisation, Marseille has to restore its position of leadership in the regional context and to improve the dynamics in economics. A million of inhabitants is wished for the civil-parish territory while the whole urban area is aimed at 2 millions inhabitants. Land seems aboundant on the civil parish, and, as a large part of natural resource is preserved, the complement seems available to accomodate growth.

The municipality aims to welcome new inhabitants, employment, headquarters.... This reasoning appears in the Local Plan, with the objective of arising density in the low-dense part of town. The urbanisation process to use is not so related to detailed methodology or strategies to carry out, especialy regarding sustainability. Most of the green town is just seen appropriate to housing settlements.


New fast access roads occured as a desire in the planning documents (Structure plan, local plan) as road trafic increase dramatically, being not so slowed even by the creation of the underground, and impact on territory, landscapes, images and identities are subjects for debate.

A huge change in habits from past decades seems necessary when planning additional development and road infrastructures, if there is a strong will to maintain qualities brought by existing identity, to value environmental and social concerns and to obtain a town with a good legibility.


The question of maintening diversity and socio-spatial balance is accurate in these new fast-growing suburbs largely created by private housebuilders inside the green town. The relationship between the filling of "gaps" in the green city and the existence of previous pieces of built environment (social estates, villageous-nodes, others various small settlements) is to face. What cultural and social impact ? How can we manage seeking for a higher profile, strengthening the villageous-nodes, in urban character, services offers and public transportation, also in their greenstructure, heavy in looking after but giving identiy ?

In the green city, the main character is the variety historical conditions have brought. Variety in the nature of the emigrant persons, in the incomes, in the histories, in the aesthetic tastes. Many researchers think of a challenge for these rapidly-changing areas, wanting to find appropriate connections without breaking the diverse aspects when developing equipements and housing.

It is a special time to try to do it. As the attractivness of the urban pole in the polynuclear area is increasing, some can see nowadays the opportunity of a debate from which planning would benefit.

(ideas expressed in the book "Aire metropolitaine marseillaise, encore un effort", containing contributions by Claude Vallette, deputy-mayor from Marseille, Camille Hagège, architect, Jean Viard, sociologist, Thierry Fellmann, specialist in urban-planning and economics,...).


Appraisal issued and planning tools.



Experts in planning have made proposals to manage the green city, for some ones quite a long time ago, but their awareness is still to salute. In the national policies, issued in the recent decades, some tools appear as being accurate, they are yet applied or will probably be applied later on.

The success in getting the experts-proposals into active projects -development processes or spatial strategies- is very unequal, the action or its contents being frequently delayed or minimized.

Some of the proposals and tools to be use (out of the local plan and the structure plan) are presented below.



A. Using planning tools


Planning with the first generation of Master Plan. The Extension Plan 1 issued in 1933, for "urban growth and beautifying the city" (Jacques Greber, architect ) is to remember, witnessing of a real project to control coherence in developing spaces in the future .

The general idea was : lowering density in inner city, make movements easier and greening the whole town. It comprised three matrix : a zoning plan, a circulation plan and a open spaces system plan, mentionning also rules for building and a project of renovation for the historic core of Marseille.

The general sketch was never approved but a large number of proposals were finaly carried on and its strong trends heralded the urban planning of the town untill the local plan of 1978.

This document, showing how urban planning was brillant at that time in France, did forecast the need of preservation the historical character of sites inside the green-city, acknowledged as a valuable soil for the future of development.

In the plan, the road network puts in order the town with the different roads, fast access roads in a parkway design, scenic roads with green surplus being carefully calculated with the grade of natural topography.

Areas were setted aside of development plots of land foreseen for building, in order to stay green spaces, either being the surrounding forests and rase native vegetated zones (and called by Greber : leasure and countryland), either being smaller isolate green spots, inside the housing area, to be protected, being the old mansions and their parks, or farm-land and existing woods.

The general design being organised to value the landscape's elements.


The Greber's proceeding is an ambitious attempt to accomodate urban growth and to develop in the same time an image of a "touristic" (or residential-valuable) landscape. Another town-planner, H. Prost, a few years ahead, did the same type of proposals for an extensive area designing a scenic road (la corniche varoise, for touristic development of the Côte d'Azur, 1923), being close to the mediterranean tradition (and italian Renaissance gardens) of upgrading the discovery of a region from roads, constructing relevant points of views and articulating the road with the planned unit development by planting, enlarging public spaces with terraced and shaded places.

The benefit of the Greber's plan can be seen in the preservation of the wildness of the hills surrounding the land occupied by the urban perimeter and the buit and natural countryside. The following plan (by Meyer-Heine, 1949) will maintain most of the proposals, especially concerning a system of parks and green open spaces going with the main roads-design of a parkway running along the river Huveaune, and the scenic road on top of the hills.

Later on, the Structure plans (1969, 1973) clear about the large natural embedding to protect, organised a network of large infrastructures and some greened "gaps" (islands of greenspaces) to break the continuum of housing and equipments.

In the recent Local plan ("POS : plan d'occupation des sols") in the green city, appear the legal grant of right of use to the areas of designated private properties, and general good principles for a wise use of land and landscape, but not much detailed information on how to succeed.

A recently issued planning policy (DTA : Directive territoriale d'Aménagement) is on study, for the large scale of intercommunal territory.



B. Appraisals


Preservation, reclamation and production of knowlegde about the "Bastides" (typical mansions of the countryside).

In the Local plan, about 200 of these mansions are mentionned as elements of interest (and of cultural importance) without developing a spatial strategy for the one lot.

In reference to the number of 5 000 mansions, given in 1847, the power of link, of backbone for the extensive area is going down day after day, about ten offer the protection of national heritage and are to be secured.

Quite a large number of mansions were transformed (in use or in form) and turned into public equipments (the building itself becoming hospital, sectorial town halls ...) but rare are the ancient private parks saved in their ancient looking (parc Borély, turned into a municipal garden a century ago, St Joseph/Gd Séminaire bought in1976, town-hall for the northern periphery, parc Pastré-111 hectares on the hill of Marseilleveyre bought in 1974-, parc Brégante , ...).


Nowadays the sea and the beach offer acute opportunities for up-to-date and successful water-sports, and the seaside development is a strong competitor in the realm of the offer in public spaces.


Having being for very long the backbone of the urban, low-densely populated periphery, and able to keep on giving a special identity to this territory evenwhen gaining a lot more of inhabitants, the mansions are seen as a landscape major component by people such as praticionners, students, associations, groups of inhabitants and stakeholders.

From this is born the idea of a "parc bastidaire" 1, a project for a special area in which relevant mansions and parks close to one another could find new use and will maintain a testimony of the lay of land, slope, surface features, hardscape and softscape due to this art of managing violent climate and beautiful views, in resting places.

The project was formulated into a proposal for a"Landscape Plan" (Plan de paysage)2 in 1993 , but is still delayed yet.

Other proposals, having the same objectives issued, concerning buildings or open spaces of this sector melting preservation, educational, public recreation, inovative pratices for stewardship of territories, activities connected with the inhabitants of the close big social estates, ... and are under discussion.

A planning policy could be used, to maintien the actual requirements, the character and performances of the actual site, even if not becoming a public ground (ZPPAUP, see in annex).

But this tool, quite recent, is very littlely applied, especially in the south of France (small municipalities, involved in welcoming tourists do use it, for example in Britany).

The knowledge, inventory of the mansions and fine analysis of the countryside soil, of the heritage, of how were performed the evolutions, .. and dissemination about this heritage progressed since the beginning of the 80s. Research work by the schools of Architecture and of landscape architecture, in University, successful public exhibit in one of the protected mansion, ...



Professionnal practice in the green town". An other main challenge, proposed on debate by specialists, concerns the question of relationship between the communities of dwellers and the road system, with all what is depending on it : pollutions, lack of legibility in courses, lack of identity, lack of urban amenities, dependence on car increasing, news roads filling the weakest parts of the outskirts.

An ambitious challenge would face these questions, working on the great scale and appropriate means of circulation, worthy in the new millenium 3.


Zooming in on the "Bastides" area of the northern part of town.

In general.

How was developed this countryside part of town ?

Water is the basic element. At the first time (money from trade being reverse in land, in the 14 th century, general event in mediterranean world) valleys river or springs are required : l'Huveaune, le Jarret, les Aygalades.

In the 18 th century, Bastides are created by men involved in financial world, in the era of manufactoring (19th century) the Bastide can be laid out of river banks having plenty of water from the canal, a water-feeder, constructed in 1847 (opulent industrial period permited it), to bring water from the river Durance. In the same time Bastides are rebuilt and refurbished, outside and inside, to emphasize and fit with the new fashions.

These estates show a skilled work on site requirements (geographical) to upgrade comfort in urban life and to permit people to settle in a favoured position : having water, controling climate, possessing a "fresh garden" (very deep trees as in Alpen forests and grazing meadows as in Switzerland, cascades in rocky-work, tiny channels along paths).

These estates also serve to produce goods (to eat and sell). Rich people can make a little money out of it, having the pleasure of being very close to the town and dominating the harbour with the beautiful seascape the grade offers. Nowadays, about agricultural productions, the lack of balance in economics is flagrant.

A century ago, nearly everyone could have such a second home : luxuous huge mansions, tiny ones called "bastidons", a small plot of land all occupied by a hut,... Bastides belong to the daily life and the countryside is belonging to the town, the same person live in both, he is at the Bastide on Sunday, in summer... and in town for work.


To-days in the northern part of town, how does the Bastides area contribute to quality of life ?

The Bastides remain the symbol of quality of life and wealthness.

All the unbuilt territory appears as a potential of diversity, in landsurface, forms, drawings, history, environmental considerations. As open spaces, various recreation and educational uses seem possible.

The memory of a previous status can still be observed. The northern periphery is keeping guidelines coming from the old times. Most social estates or units of individual homes were built inside the boundaries of the vanished mansion and estate, roads are a mix of enlarged old paths and new ones, giving each sector a special identity. The general lines of construction and organisation of site keep in mind the long history and can be shared by inhabitants beyond the cultural meaning.

And of course the Bastides have aesthetic and cultural value belonging to all the Marseillais. Their preservation as elements of the collective patrimony is a step in valuing this outskirts.

ow do Bastides appear in the large scale, metropolitan territory?

Bastides with their large unbuilt land prevent spots of urbanisation to melt one into another, creating differences in occupation of land, contrast between high-dense and low-dense parts of town. It permited to villageous-nodes to remain important in the services offer, in roots, and in the town general organisation, a part being often beneath notice.

Sociologistic recent studies focus on these aspects 1, showing some difference in behaviours between inhabitants of large areas of uniform suburbia and the ones situated close to a village. People seem more stressed by insecurity-feeling when situated in the outskirts of the city in which villageous-node have disappeared, and more attached to the territory, more able to have social contacts, and to share a culture, when villageous-nodes exist.

Green spaces reinforce the difference between tissues and in the same time strenghten the role of villages.


To rebuilt town on town (urban renewal applied to the green city), a proceeding which reattribute and does not obliterate all of previous status ?

The actual challenge is not necesseraly to preserve all the remaining bastides. Some very relevant ones are to save from destruction ; but a special attitude is to be searched, to respect a continuation in territorial history, a soft evolution.


Thinking urban extension not as colonial-settlement but as a dialogue between two different cultural trends needs to have a special skilled approach in housing programs, in rules of land-occupying, in landscape plan and urban planning, criteria to define concerning the importance of each building-program, search of compacity, urban forms and mix uses ...

A lot more would be necessary according to what is done by now.



Marseille's Canal, a special relation of the town with river-water.

Big changes in the countryside part of town results from the construction of this canal in 1847. A new type of agriculture could replace vineyard and olive-trees, traditionnal plants for dry soils. Vegetables and grazing-meadows could be created, for the needs of dayly products, just as in "huerta" areas, because of the watering.

This was in addition with the fresh parks being created by those who earned a large amount of land.

Water is responsible for creating a new landscape and the canal's existence can be seen in most details, in huge or tiny properties.

There is a cultural way of managing with water, both a skilled and a clever acting, not very expensive.

"What the organisators of Séville World's Fair have laid to low the temperature with complex technologies (to humidate air, puffing out water, creating upgoing wind-blows,...) the marseillais had it from the 19th century, with applying the same knowledge as in the andalousean town, the north-african ones and the oasis, and could be able to benefit by now".


The canal was to be viewed, a long time during, but now the trend is to cover it.

"The debate is important between the municipal technical authorities and inhabitants about the future of the canal. It concerns the work (the municipality owns it) and the distribution of water (the stewardship of which is devolute to a compagny : Société des Eaux de Marseille). The municipality has to pay to dig and put the water into pipes, the work was entreprised but is interupted. A pressure in the debate is put on by the danger of drowning, for which the canal is said to be responsible.

Of course the canal is very attractive to children and young persons, although being not authorized for water-amusements. At the end of the lenght that was endigged, the canal go through the big social estate called La Savine, which is an isolate place, far for the town-centre, and offering no equipement for fun with water (as swimming-pool, floudering-water-basin,small channels...). There, the canal, as said the newspapers, was responsible for the death of ten children in nineteen years. This shows the problem being not so the canal itself but the water being carried and above all the lack of using water to improve quality of life.


Water resource is beginning to be expensive inside the green town". The water is abundant in Marseille, the whole consummation of the town is about the third of the total resource disponibility. But the water-price increased a lot, the water to be given is now filtrated one, drinkable-water, and few can afford watering gardens with it.

All the ancients contracts to give "rough-water", which price was at 90% beneath, are to disappear"..


The creation of new types of green spaces using the advantage of the canal's water is to notice : the important new parks lenghthening the beaches of Prado, very busy and successful places, are watered with this water.


The quotations are taken from the research-work from Christian Tamisier : "Landscape as heritage and as project, chapter : Marseille, water and landscape", 1995.


"Cours Belsunce", urban walk, created in 18th century .


In France, this type of laying, started in 1628, when Queen Marie de Médicis ordered the "Cours la Reine" ("Queen's Walk", being along the Seine River, starting at Place de la Concorde) These trees "allées" are designed as a close garden (grids on both sides) only for Court, before becoming a very important public space where everyone can come. Such outdoor spaces are fresh in the end of afternoon, offering a view (mainly on sea, river or mountains) and permit to noble-birth ones to meet and have social contacts outside the King's palace (appreciated by liberal philosophs). The social part increased rapidly.

The model was probably from Italy (Firenze) and the fashion expended everywhere in Europe (being also admired and copy by landscape architect F.L.Olmsted in the 19th century ).

The Walk in Aix-en-Provence (today called Cours Mirabeau), created in 1665, was one of the best. This allées have various roles, built in place of the ramparts and giving possibility to the town to extend in new patterns (Air blows are said safe to fight against pestilence). The public space is the meeting point of old and new parts of town,the new part being more regular, with larger streets. The Cours itself is huge : 45 meters wide in Aix, 70 meters for the "Grand Cours" in Paris (created by Le Nôtre in 1667, now the Champs Elysées)

The first one in Marseille is created in 1666, copying the Aix' one, when planning the town en- largement. The building on each side obey to rules in aspect (given by architect P. Puget).

Numerous French towns still possess such walks not damaged but lots of other urban walks became just streets and roads being injured in their social role, and stopping being an almost separate space.

In mediterranean countries the social contact (view of each other, being together in the same place...) is still alife, especially because city dwellers are numerous (even if density have depressed in the recent period, in Marseille, sectors close to the Cours Belsunce are very highly populated). The spanish "paseo" is to compare (same history, same actual use).

In Marseille, Cours Belsunce lost a great number of qualities : the feeling of wide space (and of freespace), the Nature sounds : trees being injured, sanded paths being covered by concrete... making it looking much more like an avenue rather than a garden, but it maintains its social role of important urban space, an essential part to the mediterranean populations living in the old historic city-core.


Today two qualities are to notice :

• the way the creation of this public space was associated with the city enlargement. A simple form but a real good habit of having an equipment gathering two sectors and two poulations.


• in high-dense cities such spaces are really appropriate to urban life, pluri-functionnal, a lot of services, small markets ou fancy events ... can be there. It is in favour of pedestrian movements and, being always busy, it is attractive to all sort of city dewellers : young and old, busy persons or lazy ones...but it needs a compact city surrounding it .


Some French tools for urban planning (besides

the two main tools, which are the local plan, the structure plan) :

• Guidances for territorial planning ,

• Landscape Plan,

• Preservation area for architectural, urban and rural heritage


DTA : L111 1-1, L . 145-2, L 146 -1, Note from government 9/051995, Circular 23/07/96.

Guidances for regional planning. In French : Directive territoriale d'Aménagement.

Issued with the Town and Country Act of 4/02/1995 (loi "Pasqua" since yet revised to include sustainabilty concerns : LOADDT, loi 99-533, 25/06/99 "loi Voynet") , fixing for some parts of national territory, special guides-lines from the government to be respected in site development, seeking for a good balance between economics, valuing the land in development and preservation of the resource.

State is responsible for the study, in association with the regional, districal and municipal (when more than 20 000 inhabitants) representatives, and for approval of the guidances.

The aim is to regulate spatial pressure, to herauld coherence and long-term objectives for extensive areas of land under pressure and difficulties in the managing of resource.

Each one, concerning a particular area, could precise localy the way the Laws about Mountain and Coastal areas are to be applied. (the Mountain and Costal areas laws assess the disposals on planning documents and are to bridle urbanisation, especially in mountains, to enlarge public access to the sea-shore, to give ecological sounds more importance in development). These guidances are supposed to be ahead of local plan and structure plan and so to be applied in it, but their legal impact is not yet well defined. No one is yet approved. Five are in study, concerning mountains, coastal areas and estuaries.


Plan de Paysage. Landscape Plan. Landscape preservation and improving disposals, studied according to the Law on Landscape (8/01/1993), revised to be reinforced (2/02/95 and circular ENV 15/03/95). The Lanscape plan has no legal efficiency.

Fixing no compulsory measures (independant of the Local plan), it is a survey conducting to the laying out of landscape problem statements and design solutions and to proposals for conceptual and pratical aspects of using the land, for education actions, .... The proposals may lead to a financial contract between territorial authorities under the stewardship of Ministry for the Environment.


ZPPAUP (Zone de protection du patrimoine architectural, urbain et paysager). Preservation area for architectural, urban and rural heritage. 7/01/83, revised with the Law on Landscape.

Contract to be sealed between Government (Ministry of the Environment) and municipalities to fix disposals for all elements contributing to the identity of heritage (built environment, trees, roadscapes, softscape, natural environment ...)

Can by used to transform the preservation perimeter of 500 meters around a piece of Historical Heritage (scenic easement on churches ...) to a more appropriate perimeter inside of it all the others elements are to be considered when acting in reclamation, transformation and development. It is the municipality (one or more) who decides to start the study of the area, then the State ( local Architect for the national heritage) proposes disposals to apply.

Three documents are produced : a survey report giving the background to the plan and the reasoning behind it, a proposal subject map and a statement document including disposals about land organisation ,detailed treatement such as indication of height, building shapes and visual aspects...

This policy is unequally applied in France. Some regions use it : 1 502 ZPPAUP were approved (mostly concerning village-cores and architectural heritage, very few are concerning natural spaces and landscapes).


Bibliograpy :


Under direction of Edouard BARATIER, Histoire de Marseille, Privat, Toulouse, 1973.

Dominique BECQUART, Marseille, 25 ans de planification urbaine, AGAM/éd de l'aube, 1994,

Jean-Lucien BONILLO, Marseille, ville et port, Parenthèses, 1991.

René BORRUEY et Jean-Marc CHANCEL, Les bastides à Marseille, in Monuments Historiques, n° 133,

André BOUYALA d'ARNAUD, Evocation du Vieux Marseille, éd de Minuit, Paris, 1974.

Jean-Claude CHAMBOREDON, Bastides et Cabanons, in Enquête n°4, 1996.

Jean-Louis COHEN , Laurent HODEBERT, André LORTIE, Le parkway, dispositif métropolitain, Ecole d'architecture Paris-Villemin, PIR-Villes CNRS, mars 1996.

Colloque Eau et Paysages méditerranéens, 6-7 mai 1994, EHESS, interventions de P. Frapa, M. AYMARD,

COST C2, Large-scale infrastructures and quality of urban shape, final report, 2000.

Under direction of Maurice CULOT, Marseille, la passion des contrastes, Bruxelles, Mardage, 1991.

Georges DEMOUCHY, Les quatre éléments, in Monuments Historiques, n° spécial sur Marseille.

GIRARD René, TAMISIER Christian, Mobilité, paysage et espace public dans la région urbaine de Marseille, les enjeux pour Euroméditerranée et le boulevard du littoral, septembre 2000.

INAMA (Ecole d'architecture Marseille-Lumigny) : Jean-Lucien BONILLO, Jean-Marc CHANCEL, René BORRUEY, Etude exploratoire pour une méthodologie de.repérage systématique des bastides marseillaises, 1980, Les bastides marseillaises ; vers un inventaire analytique, 1981, Rapports d'activité de 1983 et de 1984, sur les bastides marseillaises et sur le colloque ville-ports de méditerranée.

Aire métropolitaine marseillaise, encore un effort ... Ouvrage collectif coordonné par P. Langevin et E. Chouraqui, l'aube sud, 2000.

André LORTIE, Jacques Gréber, les plans pour Philadelphie (1917) et Marseille (1933) in La ville, centre Georges Pompidou, 1994.

Le siècle de Louis XIV à Marseille, Musées de Marseille, musée d'histoire, Marseille, 1994.

Alain MEDAM, Blues Marseille, éd Jeanne Lafitte, 1995.

MELTT-Plan Urbain. Villes en débat, séminaire aménageurs-chercheurs, Marseille, 1995-1997.

Monuments Historiques n°133, juin-juillet 1984 : Un art régional, série d'articles sur les bastides à Marseille, le cours en Provence (par Marc Gillet),....

Michel PERALDI : MARSEILLE, Bulletin d'informations architecturales, IFA, 1989

Michel PERALDI : Rumeur des lieux, la formation du paysage péri-urbain marseillais, in Les annales de la recherche urbaine, n°18-19, Dunod, 1983

Michel PERALDI : Le cycle du fusible, jalons pour une histoire sociale du DSU à Marseille, in Les annales de la recherche urbaine, n° 68-69, 1995.

Michel PERALDI : Fragments d'urbanité dans une ville éparse, Cerfise, 1985.

Michel RACINE, Les jardins de l'Huveaune, in Monuments historiques n°133

Arnaud RAMIERE de FORTANIER, Illustration du Vieux Marseille, Aubanel, Avignon, 1978.

Marcel Roncayolo, les Grammaires d'une ville, EHESS, 1996,

Marcel Roncayolo, Marseille, les territoires du temps, éditions locales de France, Actes Sud, 1996.

Marcel Roncayolo, Les grandes villes françaises : Marseille, Paris, la Documentation française, 1963.

SUD INSEE L'essentiel, n°21, septembre 1999, n°23, novembre 1999 (article de P. Julien), n°24, mars 2000.

Christian TAMISIER, A. FUZIBET : Patrimoine, Paysage et banlieue à Marseille, document de synthèse de travaux de recherche, Ministère de l'Equipement, Conseil général des Bouches du Rhône, Direction régionale des Affaires Culturelles de PACA,Transit, 1995.

Christian TAMISIER, Paysage et Méditerranée, les leçons du métissage, Pages paysages, n°5, 1994.

Christian TAMISIER, : Une ville à la campagne, brochure de l'expo, 26/09-24/10/1992.

L'oeuvre de Henri PROST, architecture et urbanisme, Académie d'architecture, 1960 (préface d'André Siegfried)

la revue Urbanisme, n°5-6, 1951,

Jean VIARD, Marseille, une ville impossible, Payot, Paris, 1995.

Ghislaine VICHERY, Jean-Samuel BORDREUIL, Michel PERALDI : Marseille, le grand projet urbain et les quartiers nord, éd de l'aube, 1997.

Newspapers : Le Monde : Marseille, menace sur les balcons de Sainte-Marthe, 16/06/2000, Marseille en pleine forme, 9/01/2001, Le renouveau du port autonome de Marseille, 5/12/2000, Marseille retrouve de l'énergie au rythme des chantiers, 9/02/2001, Aix-en-Provence, tous les plaisirs du Sud, 13/02/2001.

Pierre VIDAL-NAQUET, Les ruisseaux, le canal et la mer, les eaux de Marseille, CERPE, 1990.

Ann-Caroll WERQUIN, Les promenades urbaines : un savant dosage d'urbanistique et de nature, article in Metropolis, 1990.

Ann-Caroll WERQUIN (atelier Thalès) , Comparaison des politiques publiques, nationales, régionales ou locales, cherchant à freiner l'étalement urbain dans quatre pays européens (tome 1 : La France, tome 2 : Grande-Bretagne, Danemark, Suisse) Ministère de l'équipement, des transports et du logement, DGUHC-PUCA, 2000.

Alain DEMANGEON, Ann-Caroll WERQUIN (atelier Thalès), Les grandes armatures végétales urbaines. Ministère de l'urbanisme, du logement et des transports, 1986.

Alain DEMANGEON, Ann-Caroll WERQUIN (atelier Thalès), Etude du patrimoine des mas et domaines viticoles de la commune de Montpellier, secteur est, dans le cadre de l'étude du Contournement autoroutier (A9) et de la rocade Est, 1997-98.

Pierre-Paul ZALIO, Urbanités marseillaises, Enquête, 4-1996, pp191-210.


See also Leisure issues in Marseille


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