Marseille plan guide

Marseille, France

Marseille plan guide

Marseille, France


Marseille's city center benefits from its exceptional location as gateway to the Mediterranean. The territory's remarkable surrounding landscapes, where embankments, headlands, and the famous Provencal calanques (rocky inlets) come one after the other, are today obscured, defaced, and stripped of their original functions. The development plan seeks to spread the work of rehabilitation to the whole of this maritime facade, restoring its value while giving back the city center its own identity. The new legibility accorded each distinct landscape element functions as the support for the creation a new and wider coherence to the territory as a whole.

Our study of Marseille's city center takes the opposite course of classic development plans. In contrast to the classic study that first analyzes the site from an overall perspective, after which it lingers over particular situations, the development plan for Marseille is designed in accordance with a process of deduction. After examining the individual objects making up the territory, comprehension and understanding of the site in its totality becomes possible. This method, which relies upon the results and findings of a number of workshops set up by the project manager, each of which examine different themes, creates the possibility of distinguishing which individual sites are representative of a larger set. Establishing beforehand the typologies at work throughout the site, following this first round of analysis, avoids treating all the public spaces included in the study systematically. This results in a subtler and finer treatment of each determined category of space, limiting as much as possible repetition.

This approach is key when studying territories made up of a spectrum of diverse spaces, a flexible method reproducible wherever spaces of different nature coexist. 

2012 to 2014
Urban strategies, Public spaces

Communauté urbaine Marseille Provence Métropole

Project Team:

MDP Michel Desvigne Paysagiste (lead consultant)
Tangram, urban planners
Ingérop, engineers


400 ha (988 acres)