Within the framework of an expertise for the city of Liège, we have studied the non-planned part of the city, that of the old cities and the mineral exploitations.
This territory is located beyond the historical center, the large industrial areas linked to the river and the wooded hillsides bordering the immediate skyline of the city. Today, it is characterized by an archipelago made up of an expansive suburban fabric, punctuated by industrial vestiges, residual agricultural areas, and interspersed with major road infrastructures.
Over the years, the suburban fabric has leaned against abandoned industrial brownfields, turning its back on these large open spaces located in the heart of town. Paradoxically, an urban fabric characterized by the scarcity of public spaces has developed, it surrounds spectacular landscapes that have been relegated to the back, becoming difficult to access or even invisible.
By browsing them we observed that the abandoned sites still reveal the possibility of a network of roads and vast wastelands connected on a large scale. Following the model of 19th-century American park systems, where parks superimposed on existing geography to transform it into future public spaces, we propose that these derelict infrastructures are connected, complemented, and requalified backwards into a chain of parks.
The vestiges of the geography, infrastructure networks and industrial sites are the possible locations for an urban renewal. Everything is a matter of displacement of the gaze. We propose a large scale recomposition enabled by the creation of places and links where another way of living and moving around the territory would be possible.
The landscape that has resulted from this process should be considered as another form of naturalness to compose with on a large scale, by creating places and links allowing another way of living and moving around the territory. The challenge is to draw on all the opportunities to be revealed.
The primary objective is to preserve existing open spaces in the wastelands which can later be transformed into parks thanks to management approaches. The first actions consist of creating new porosities, entry points and to network this chain of places.
The structure of the territory offers an accessible scale, on which one can act concretely. The relatively small size (300 x 400 m) of the wastelands to be requalified as a park makes their transformation realistic and feasible. The distance between them is in the order of one kilometer, i.e. it corresponds to a usual itinerary in the city.
This large-scale landscape structure combines elements of natural and artificial geography. The new paths connect to the existing wooded hillsides, while the requalification of the voids that have become parks offers the opportunity to engage that of the surrounding built fabric. The chain of parks gives an immediate quality to the landscape, and indirectly to the built domain by a multitude of future urban projects within an extraordinary canvas.
City of Liège
MDP Michel Desvigne Paysagiste
6 900 ha