The role of the architect and his decision-making power in the transformation process of shrinking cities. Learning from two French experiences

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In France, the phenomenon of shrinkage is particularly visible in old industrial cities and in small cities and villages in rural regions. The impact of this process on lands, buildings, uses and landscape asks local stakeholders to act and architects to adapt his thought of space and project at this new urban condition. Until now, the architect answered commands which integrated in urban policies for revitalizing the territory, transforming the image of the city and attracting new populations and new investors. In this way, some cities developed flagship projects and invited often a “starchitect”. Today, with more knowledge of the process, local stakeholders search new alternatives to transform the urban environment for maintaining inhabitants and improving their wellbeing. The architect has an important role in this new position. This communication will focus on the importance and the influence of the architect in the decision-making power of the project ownership to transform the urban fabric and to propose new forms of collaboration between local stakeholders and inhabitants. Two characteristic projects will be study: the project Îlot-test Franche-Amitié at Saint-Etienne and the urban study Habiter les centres-bourgs proposed by the Parc Naturel Régional of Livradois-Forez.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Definite Space – Fuzzy Responsibility, Prague, 13-16th July, 2015
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