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Vorgärten, Privative Green Spaces in Neustadt (Strasbourg, France). A Century of Practices in the Heart of the City

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Abstract

The Neustadt, a “new town” which was erected in Strasbourg after the annexation of Alsace-Moselle by the German Empire (1871–1918), presents a typical urban design including small gardens. Vorgärten in the German language, literally “front garden”, are usually delimited at the front by the public road (sidewalk) at the back by the building, and on the sides by the boundaries. Integrated into the layout of public roads and particularly visible from the street, these gardens are privately owned and located on the property rights-of-way. Thus, in a few streets of urban extension, they form shallow green spaces (about 3 m) and border the facades of the buildings. Sanitary conditions in the city were indeed a new societal issue, which led to restructuring in urban planning models. The very history of the evolution of urban stakes is materialized in this specific area of Vorgarten and summarizes to some extent the intersections of public policies and habits. Thus, Vorgärten conceived in hygienist vein have undoubtedly evolved from their origin to our days. Our research allowed us to note the following two break points: On the one hand, the issues related to hygiene have been reconverted to those related to ecology—in this sense we can speak of mutation; on the other hand, their appropriation varies according to the frontier zones and the territorial characteristics within the Neustadt, between the busier and the more residential streets. Note that the degree of appropriation is decisive in maintaining the “green” dimension of these gardens. On this point, the fate of foster gardens is quite opposite to that of totally mineralized gardens. These concrete and significant examples have made it possible to highlight the evolution of these spaces.

Keywords

  • Vorgarten
  • Garden
  • Hygienism
  • Urban planning
  • Strasbourg

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The term appears gradually, but very timidly, in publications devoted to architecture and town planning. The DWDS gives its first mention of the term in 1878, although it is certainly not the oldest, the manual of architecture of Germano Wanderley (1845–1904), where it appears more than modestly in a plan legend! It was present in most encyclopedias and dictionaries of urbanism and architecture, as in that of Wasmuth.

  2. 2.

    Observations carried out in 2016, and systematically recorded in four streets in the summer of 2017, interviews conducted as part of Cathy Blanc-Reibel’s thesis on living practices in the Neustadt.

  3. 3.

    The specific case of Strasbourg will be declined later.

  4. 4.

    Remarks collected during the meeting Rendez-vous de la Neustadt; 2015, http://patrimoine.alsace/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/RDV-NEUSTADT-2015-PROG.pdf.

  5. 5.

    For example, we note withdrawals associated with bourgeois residences and addressed rue Brûlée and rue du Dôme, or else a housing unit is set back from the alignment of the other buildings of Quai Kléber (1855).

  6. 6.

    Sources: Archives of the city «Eurométropole of Strasbourg»: 876 W 66.

  7. 7.

    Archives de la Ville et de l’Eurométropole de Strasbourg: 311 MW 11.

  8. 8.

    It is located at 56 Allee de la Robertsau.

  9. 9.

    Source: DRAC, 1992.

  10. 10.

    Annual event organized from 2010 to 2016 by the General Inventory of Cultural Heritage Department of the Greater East Region, 355 people raised awareness of the patrimonial question interviewed during the 4 days of the event 2014 edition.

  11. 11.

    Among the indicators taken into consideration are the number of m2 of green space accessible to the public and protected vegetated areas, the vegetated roof surfaces, number Alignment trees: http://www.observatoirevillesvertes.fr/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/PALMARES-DES-VILLES-VERTES-VDEF.pdf.

  12. 12.

    http://ec.europa.eu/environment/europeangreencapital/.

  13. 13.

    According to the proposed dating in the emergence of the sustainable city in Europe, Atlas of Sustainable Cities, p. 10.

  14. 14.

    Bicycle master plan of the Eurometropole of Strasbourg: 1978, supplemented by a charter of the bicycle in February 1994.

  15. 15.

    Strasbourg fourth place in the classification of European cycling cities, according to http://copenhagenize.eu/index/ http://copenhagenize.eu/index/04_strasbourg.html. accessed on August 31, 2017.

  16. 16.

    http://www.aktionsgemeinschaft-westend.de/category/vorgaerten/, consulted on August 31, 2017.

  17. 17.

    https://www.muenchen.de/rathaus/Stadtverwaltung/Referat-fuer-Stadtplanung-und-Bauordnung/Lokalbaukommission/Kundeninfo/Vorgarten.html consulted on August 31, 2017.

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Correspondence to Cathy Blanc-Reibel .

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Blanc-Reibel, C., Haegel, O. (2018). Vorgärten, Privative Green Spaces in Neustadt (Strasbourg, France). A Century of Practices in the Heart of the City. 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_3

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