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The Emergence of a Green “Intermittent” City? The Case of Parisian Nomadic Gardens

Part of the Cities and Nature book series (CITIES)

Abstract

This contribution, which focuses on nomadic community gardens in Paris, aims to lay out the contemporary urban landscape at a crossroads between temporary uses and the sustainable city. Nomadic gardens are “on the move” collective gardening projects managed by inhabitants as the sites await urban redevelopment. The Parisian nomadic gardens emphasize new political and social discourses and practices relating to the temporary uses and moving of urban spaces. The translocation of gardens aims to foster the acceptance, and, paradoxically, the permanence, of temporary uses. Then, it could promote the emergence of a green “intermittent” city. However, this process is not always a smooth one and it questions the association of two frames of reference: the sustainable city and the neoliberal city. This exploratory work stresses the difficulty of going beyond binary approaches (anchor/circulation; continuity/discontinuity; temporary/sustainable; sustainable city/neoliberal city) in order to grasp the realities of the contemporaneous urban fabric, pointing to the need to set up a hybrid analytical framework.

Keywords

  • Transitory urbanism
  • Temporary uses
  • Community garden
  • Nomadic garden
  • Paris

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Fig. 14.1
Fig. 14.2

Notes

  1. 1.

    My study is based on nomadic community gardens. To simplify matters, I will use the term “nomadic garden” henceforth in this paper. The community gardens are known as “jardin [s] partagé [s]” in France, literally “shared garden[s]”.

  2. 2.

    Located in the north of France, Lille is the fourth-largest city in France, after Paris, Lyon and Marseille.

  3. 3.

    Other forums have since been held in Nantes in 1999, Paris in 2004 and Strasbourg in 2012.

  4. 4.

    This name equates to the English terms “green fingers” or “green thumb”.

  5. 5.

    In Paris, 80% of the land of community gardens belongs to the municipality. The remaining 20% are the property of social housing landlords or public bodies with industrial and commercial functions such as the SNCF group, France’s national railway company.

  6. 6.

    Cf. the websites of community gardens’ associations:

    —in Rome (http://urban-matters.org/projectsbyindividuals/nomadic-agroculture)

    —in Edinburgh (https://grovecommunitygarden.wordpress.com/)

    —in San Francisco (http://nomadgardens.org).

  7. 7.

    The Tuaregs in the North of Niger use the term Kelifergan meaning “people with fences” by way of metonymy using the “garden” to refer to sedentary people.

  8. 8.

    Every year since 2011, the municipality of Paris has set a short-lived garden up in late spring. Paris-Plages (Paris Beaches) is a plan run by the City of Paris that creates temporary artificial beaches each summer since 2002 along the river Seine in the centre of Paris, and, since 2007, along the Bassin de la Villette in the north-east of Paris.

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Demailly, KE. (2018). The Emergence of a Green “Intermittent” City? The Case of Parisian Nomadic Gardens. In: Glatron, S., Granchamp, L. (eds) The Urban Garden City . Cities and Nature. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-72733-2_14

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