The ambivalences of local transport policy faced with the realities of a public space redevelopment project: the case of the Marseille Vieux-Port

By Benoit Romeyer, Frédérique Hernandez, Michael Paul

This article contributes to the analysis of urban redevelopment projects aiming at the redeployment of alternative modes of transport to the car. More specifically, its aim is to analyse how ambivalences embedded in local mobility policies tend to affect urban redevelopment projects. Based on theoretical frameworks derived from work on urban design, it studies the genesis of a project for the redevelopment of public a space by combining the organisational analysis of its collective production system (the actors and procedures involved) and the substantial analysis of its actual content (the issues and the redevelopment priorities in contention). It takes as a case study the Vieux-Port of Marseille whose redevelopment as a public space is at the interface between transport and urban design. The redevelopment of the Vieux-Port, which began in 2009 with the launch of an international design competition aimed at its partial pedestrianisation, is part of an overall strategy to reorganise transport and traffic in the centre of Marseille. This award-winning urban development thus constitutes an example conducive to the empirical observation of the encounter, in the same space and on the same design stage, of a diversity of urban design approaches. The case study is based on two complementary methodologies: a literature review enabling the project to be placed within a broad spatial and temporal trajectory, and the realisation of semi-directive interviews with the stakeholders involved in the management and design of the project. The results obtained contribute, on the one hand, to research dealing with new cooperation frameworks for the production of urban projects, and on the other hand, to the spatial manifestations of urban mobility policies.

  • urban project
  • sustainable mobility
  • public spaces
  • partial pedestrianisation
  • Vieux-Port
  • Marseille
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