Gaining Ground

La Courrouze, Rennes

It all began with the issue of concertation: the question of how to avoid the public meetings that always rally the same people, how to create something together – developer, residents, urban designers – rather than everyone holding onto their fixed position.

During the first stage of “Gaining Ground”, we took the developer, Territoires & Développement, at their word, proposing a strategy that would allow all the project’s stakeholders (inhabitants and local stakeholders, the developer who commissioned the project, and architects) to stage the amenities that were lacking in the neighbourhood, so they could “have a picnic”, “have a drink”, “play in the sandpit,” and identifying what needed to be preserved (to “play a round of Fortnite-themed paintball”, say, or “do graffiti en famille” or “meditate”), as well as other things that were needed, identified in the course of the three workshops. These workshops enabled us to define the other things needed to successfully bring these ideas to fruition, what spaces could be used and who would be involved. Over the course of a long and festive weekend, the challenges were taken up by teams created especially for the occasion. Five perspectives conceived by the collectif Tempête were given tangible form and spread over the neighbourhood, allowing the teams to take photos of the challenge they wanted to stage. During the event over 100 photographs were taken and put up in the Pavillon de la Courrouze, making it easy to see which were the most popular challenges. These images made it possible to envisage prototypes of the activities people wanted and ways of using the neighbourhood’s public spaces.
In the second phase we analysed these materials to produce a “map of recommendations of what aspects were to be preserved and what amenities and activities needed to be set up” in the heart of the neighbourhood, which inspired studio Secchi-Vigano's project