10 thousands years after settling for the first time and building our traditional western cities, men have ironically become « micro-nomadic » in their daily way of life : living in one zone, working in the second, consuming in a third… and circulating through the network of roads that bind them. This secular system, which was originally conceived with a practical concern, however turns into an inescapable, time and energy-consuming circuit as the scale of contemporary cities transforms. Immaterial fences slowly rise around every aspect of personal and social life, and they now threaten the well-being of the city’s inhabitants, their social diversity, as well as the eco-system that supports them.
The purpose of an « inclusive city » is to regain quality of life, especially emphazing on human interactions and diversity, as well as environmental concern. To this end, traffic flows, division of programs, mapping techniques… have to be rethought, bringing back the citizen as the center of their design.
Our traditional cities are usually built in a two-dimensional frame that includes buildings, and a more-or-less complex grid of traffic axes surrounding them : the streets. These buildings can host various programs such as housing, shops, offices, public services… With a notorious constraint: they can be accessed from the ground floor only, where the street flow is ; no matter how tall is a tower, or how intimate a city house can be. One consequence of this main constraint, is that most of the time, all public spaces (shops, gardens…) can only settle on the ground, where you will also encounter dense traffic jams. Upper floors on the other hand, are generally dedicated to private functions such as housing or offices « condos » : circulation areas inside the building are not accessible to everyone, but are shared between users/owners of the building only.
Our idea is to raise a new city scheme in three dimensional space, re-defining human traffic not only as a 2D grid, and mixing programs within buildings : both in order to save everyone trips, time and energy, and to promote diversity of people, jobs, functions, encounters…
What if a public garden was to be built on the rooftop of a mixed housing and offices building? What if you could live on the ground floor, and shop for groceries on the fourth? what if your sports club was on top of your best friend’s apartment? the multiplication of the cross between programs makes it possible to multiply the interactions between the inhabitants of a city and if it does in more on the scale of all the building that accentuates even more the effect of inclusion
One key to achieve this, would be to work on a new idea of what are « public » and « private » areas. Stairs and elevators inside the condos, often are huge expenses of space and money. Why not design these same spaces as public? And private property would start on the door of each apartment, just as it would on a small village’s house. This would allow citizens to reach different floor levels, where shops, services or gardens could settle. It would also bring in a new aesthetic to the city, with a sense of unexpected and friendliness.
One other consequence of bringing the city in 3D, is the change of means to travel. With shorter distances to cover, narrower pathways, and maybe slopes, polluting vehicles are no longer required. To move on foot, bikes, or on various electrical scooters will not only be a fast and secure way to travel around, il will also ensure noise reduction, and improvement of air quality for all inhabitants to enjoy.
Contemporary technology will be an essential tool, not only to design such a city, but also in daily life to find your way around, and help anybody consider their life in 3D.