Jean-Marc Gancille and Philippe Barre give an account here of the urban eco-system they have played a part in developing in Bordeaux on the wasteland left by an abandoned military barracks. After rehearsing the history of their “takeover” of the site, they show how their project fits into a long-term perspective, combining local traders, co-working, culture, leisure activities, an urban farm and other ecological experiments against a background of alternative citizen culture. It is all about another way of seeing and conceiving urban space, and particularly of putting ecological transition into practice, a notion that has been much talked about in France but has struggled to find wide-scale implementation. And, despite the obstructions and resistance that continue, on a regular basis, to hamper this process of urban creation, the site is expanding, activities and employment are growing, and the ecosystem is developing after the fashion of the Darwinian evolution of species: it is adapting and progressing.
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