Improving the quality of the urban environment has become a public policy priority.
For many years, cities have grown without any environmental consideration. Urban areas often suffer from a lack of natural spaces and from the fragmentation of natural habitats. This can have a significant impact on residents’ quality of life. The use of natural areas in urban settings is becoming a key element in regional development policy.
In urban areas, the town and nature have all too often been completely cut off from each other, but the time has come to forge strong links again. These links concern not only ecology and the landscape but also human relations.
This is the backdrop to the SeineCityPark LIFE+ project: it aims to show how the socio-economic development of a 1,700ha urbanised area can be combined with the improvement of local environmental conditions through the creation of green urban infrastructure.
The SeineCityPark LIFE+ project has set out to:
- Establish an ecological, landscaped and human network linking up the Seine, the Peuple de l’herbe departmental park, the Nouvelle Centralité and the Coeur vert to the Hautil massif in the north of the Chanteloup loop. Developing the park is the first step in creating this network;
- Establish transition areas between open spaces such as the Seine and the fallow land and urbanised areas that form the urbanised fringe of Carrières-sous-Poissy, and the future development projects on the drawing board;
- Bring nature into the town. Nature plays a key role as a backbone for urban development, and as a tool for the spatial organisation of urban and peri-urban areas;
- Rehabilitate a disused quarry by creating a departmental park listed as an Espace Naturel Sensible (sensitive natural area) – this allows the département to protect natural areas by buying up the land – and rehabilitate former orchards in the centre of the loop;
- raise public awareness of environmental issues.
The Chanteloup loop
The Chanteloup loop is an integral part of the broader downstream Seine landscape. In the early 20th century, the 1,700ha Chanteloup loop area was the site of extensive market gardening, along with the associated manuring. In the 1950s, the area acquired a more urban status with the construction of multi-family housing and the extensive spread of urbanised areas, resulting in a sharp rise in the municipalities’ population. Coinciding with these changes in the economy and the landscape, the emergence of river quarries profoundly changed the landscape along the fringes of the loop. In the 1980s and 90s, the quarries were simply filled in and most of the western part of the loop became a vast brownfield site between patches of urbanisation.
To restore some measure of attractiveness to the area and enhance the surroundings for its inhabitants, a sustainable, responsible initiative was introduced for the region’s socio-economic development. The local development plan voted in by the CA2RS in 2010 sets out the creation of a landscaped infrastructure designed to enhance and link up the existing open spaces and curb developments. Producing this landscaped infrastructure calls for close collaboration among all of the stakeholders.
The Conseil départemental des Yvelines (CG78), the Communauté d’Agglomération 2 Rives de Seine (CA2RS), Ports de Paris (PdP), the Etablissement Public du Mantois Seine Aval (EPAMSA), the Syndicat Mixte d’aménagement et de gestion des berges de la Seine et de l’Oise (SMSO) and the municipalities situated in the Chanteloup loop (Carrières-sous-Poissy, Andrésy, Chanteloup-les-Vignes, Chapet, Triel-sur-Seine and Verneuil-sur-Seine) are involved in a vast project to make their area more environmentally friendly. This new type of governance lends consistency to all of the activities conducted as part of the SeineCityPark LIFE+ project. The ecological urban infrastructure developed by the project will define a green fabric that will house the various environmentally responsible projects, all managed by one or other of the stakeholders mentioned above.
- The departmental “Parc du Peuple de l’herbe”, which will serve as a biodiversity reservoir for the entire area in addition to its role as an educational and recreational area for the population;
- The “Nouvelle Centralité” in Carrières-sous-Poissy, which will comprise a series of public gardens, each a few hectares in area, along with housing certified to the French High Environmental Quality (HQE) standard and shops;
- The “Coeur vert”, an extensive project to rehabilitate former orchards, encompassing a total surface area of over 150 hectares and setting up miscanthus crops to develop an eco-materials industry;
- The “ZAC Ecopôle”, a 250ha industrial park dedicated to environmentally responsible businesses, and which will also house a vocational secondary school for the eco-construction industry;
- The “Eco-port de Triel-sur-Seine”, which will provide river-transport access to businesses in the Chanteloup loop.
The policy-makers have set out to make the area’s development a benchmark example of an urban environment.