- Urban Growth without Sprawl: six examples in the city and region of Geneva    click here to open paper content1431 kb
by    Christeler, Stephane & Sall, Ousmane | stephchristeler@yahoo.fr   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
The paper will show six examples of urban projects in the city and region of Geneva that respect the principles of sustainable development and the principle of continuity in relation to the existing urban zone.
For many decades, urban expansion and development have only been planned horizontally. Cities have mushroomed out into the suburbs, creating new areas requiring investments in new infrastructure and in different networks in order to enhance the value of these districts and to connect them efficiently to the urban dynamics of city centres.
With the aim of countering the opinion long-defended by urban planners, who believed that they could, in this way, ensure the cities’ future, we will present six examples of projects, some of re-classification and some of urban development in the city and region of Geneva.

The local approach
The idea is to restore a certain number of industrial areas and change them into residential and recreational areas. The derelict areas will undergo a transformation rather than a densification, as shown by the three examples of more judicious uses of land.
Artamis – in the “La Jonction” area: this zone is still in use (artistic expression, alternative culture), but it is planned to convert it into housing. The idea is to transform it into an area that respects the principles of sustainable development, in order to minimize energy-consumption.
The “Pointe de la Jonction”: this zone is still partially active and it is planned to convert it into a residential and recreational zone, as well as into encounter and exchange zones.
Praille-Vernets-Acacias: this zone is still active, –characterized by its multifunctionality, firms, abandoned railway lands, supply activities, commercial centres–. It is planned to largely change it into housing, with the aim of offsetting the current crisis.

The cantonal approach
The aim is to favour spatial development in accordance with a logic of continuity in relation to the existing urban zone, by avoiding scattering built infrastructures, and reconciling the necessity of building housing in the periphery -the peripheral zones that could potentially incorporate housing complement the three zones situated in the city centre- with those of maintaining and creating green areas, and generally preserving un-built areas.
This will be illustrated by three other examples:
The “Rectangle d’Or”: a huge zone that encompasses four districts, Swiss and French on both sides of the International Airport and that could incorporate housing, commerce, high-tech firms and hotels. We notice that this project respects the logic of continuity in relation to the urban area. The districts separating the city centre from the airport are densely built-up, but nevertheless devote a large area to green spaces. However, two elements constitute a break between Swiss and French territory: the motorway and the airport itself.
Annemasse: a huge new project to develop the “Etoile-Annemasse” zone. The idea is to transform the railway part of Annemasse’s station into a residential area, essentially a case of building “a city within a city”. The logic of continuity in relation to the existing urban area is respected, as we are referring to the urban density of the built-up area between Geneva and Annemasse.
Bardonnex - St-Julien - Neydens: a huge centre of activity that would be established in immediate proximity to the motorway and that adjoins an already-dense urban zone.
The density of this area that separates the city-centre from this district in southern Geneva allows a spacious development that is destined to become a real hub of activity.
In this district, it is planned to establish other activities as well as housing.

urban development, sprawl, urban density, housing, activities, transportation
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