This is the fourth and final post from InspiralLondon Festival, held in September 2016.
Another presentation at the Friday event was French architect Julie de Muer. Julie and her two colleagues Baptiste Lanaspeze and Paul-Herve Lavessiere came over to the festival to speak at the Deep Topographies event at Swedenborg House, Bloomsbury on the Thursday evening.
Julie talked in detail about the artist-led Metropolitan Trail which links Marseille and the Provence region, formed of a figure of 8 shape, linking countryside and coastal areas. Julie described how citizens should have the right to practice the city in a certain way. Linking to Alberto Duman’s talk on marketing the London Borough of Newham to foreign investors, Julie described how during the Marseille Capital of Culture year, the Metropolitan Trail – which artists developed – allowed inhabitants to tell alternative narratives of the city and wider area. She highlighted how walking can be a methodology for creating these narratives from and with local people. A publication accompanies this project, and InspiralLondon has also become a Metropolitan Trail.
Julie de Muer speaking at Stave Hill Ecological Park
Julie went on to describe a second project she’s been part of, alongside a group of young architects, planners and landscapers entitled ‘Dimanche a Foresta’, after the land it has taken place on. The land is a 26 area of open land, known as a park (although not officially) between the sea and a ‘deprived’ area of Marseille. Most of the area has been bought by developers. Much of it can’t be built on as its during WW2 the land was bombed and parts of it have collapsed. It is also contaminated from earlier industry (including clay tile making), however for years local people have hunted and foraged there. The area around the park land has serious social issues.
An unusual partnership between artists, architects etc and local developers has been formed. A project called ‘Yes We Camp’ collective – is inviting people to walk in, picnic in and explore the land together, finding the commonalities, shared histories and stories in order to create a new kind of urban park together.
Image of ‘Foresta’, from https://yeswecamp.org/
Image credits: Sarah Spanton and Yes We Camp