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Citroen Park, Paris(1992)

Citroen Park. Post-industrial land

Introduction

The industrial revolution was a massive part of the development of humanity which changed the history of mankind. But it had too many harmful effects on ecology and public health. Although most of the industrial lands have moved out of the city, the detrimental impacts remained.

These lands remained dark and grey spots in cities; they were visually and physically polluted and ruined enormous urban lands. Therefore what was the best function government could choose for these lands? One of the best was green spaces such as public parks. Urban designers should continually transform the threats to opportunities, and designed these urban renewals and post-industrial landscapes from grey spaces to green ones which could improve public health. Designing, itself, is difficult when your aim is to satisfy humans. Therefore, it is clear that when you have to consider public health and its factors in designing, the procedure would be more challenging and more difficult. To achieving development of public health many questions comes to our minds .One of the main question is when these industrial wastelands changed to public parks such as Citroen Park, How could this park design help the improvement of public health which includes both mental and physical health?

This study investigates the public health views in designing Citroen Park as a post-industrial land.

Historical background

The site for Andre Citroen used to be the Citroen Company’s production factory before becoming a public park. The main product of this factory was Car. Barges transporting raw materials such as coal and steel to the facility polluted the Seine River, which runs beside the park, for years. The property had devolved into an industrial wasteland[1] [1]. (Figure.1)

During the middle of the twentieth century, as France’s industrial business improved, numerous enterprises began to leave the city. Companies abandoned their locations in Paris as technology improved and work became more efficient, and they migrated elsewhere in the country or outside.[2][2].

(Figure1.Old site of Andre Citroen Factory)

During the 1980s in France, and particularly in Paris, a massive reconstruction program was implemented .In 1985, a design competition was launched as a result. The contest judges couldn’t decide between two concepts that were submitted. Rather than picking one, they opted to combine the ideas of the two successful teams. Rather than adopting a single design, the two finalists were asked to combine their ideas into one layout. As a result, there is a park with diverse zones designed by distinct designers [3][1]. The park was designed by landscape architects Gilles Clément and Alain Provost. It is one of Paris’s largest parks, having opened in the twentieth century [2]. The 35-acre park, which is organized by strict geometry, could be thought of as a strong, minimalist rendition of a 17th-century French formal garden [4][3]. (Figure2)

(Figure2.Old land of Citroen Park)

Design features

A huge central lawn, as well as historic riverfront gardens in the city center, form an axis perpendicular to the Seine. Six themed gardens on the open lawn’s north side all have alchemical symbolism: each is related with a metal, a planet, a day of the week, a state of water, and a sense of wonder (the sixth sense being intuition). The spaces are divided into 19 sections by 19 water canals. On the park’s eastern extremity, a plaza with dancing water jets separates two glasshouses. A reflecting pool is paralleled by an elevated boardwalk on the south side of the lawn. A lengthy diagonal walkway crosses through the park, creating a number of different spatial experiences [5][3]. (Figure3) From south to north, the grass slopes slightly toward the Seine River. Visitors can get a panoramic view of the park with the river as a backdrop by standing at the southern end. At the southern end of the great lawn, the main route runs over it, separating one of the lawn’s corners from the body. To soften the transition between architecture and environment, trees have been placed along the path. A small water channel goes around the outside border of the large lawn in a rectangle, interrupted only by the main route [6][1].

This study investigated the historical background and general design features of this park. Then it analyzes this park from the view of public health issue includes physical and mental health, which many factors impressed them, such as safety, pleasure, green spaces, and activities.

(Figure3.Citroen park plan)

Public health

The disconnection between people and nature grew with the industrial revolution, which resulted in major urbanization in the 19th century, and sustained explosive growth of metropolitan areas and the destruction of nature throughout the 20th century. Any state, regional, or local infrastructure plan must include urban parks, open space, and related human health issues. Urban parks support the key ideals at stake in public infrastructure development: giving children with the simple delights of playing in the park; promoting health and well-being; and reducing pollution. Well-designed and well-maintained public open space can provide areas for natural appreciation, as well as recreation and athletics. Improvements in people’s physical and mental health, as well as the environmental value of biodiversity and improved air quality, are all advantages [7][7].In Citroen Park overall purpose was to transform a damaged wasteland into a healthy community with the park as its focal point [8][1].

  1. Pleasure

The landscape defines the sense of place at Park André Citroen, which is tucked inside the urban structure. Its walled gardens harken back to the hortus conclusus, a haven of serenity, pleasure, and happiness [9][3].One of the benefits of fallow land, according to Clément, is its “aesthetic incoherence[10] which causes human’s pleasure [4].”  The park’s gardens are perhaps its most unique feature, as they are both entertaining. The White Garden serves as a fun area and is a favorite of families and children because it is the only part of the park where dogs are allowed and contains a playground. The Black Garden is a peaceful spot for reading and wandering, with dark foliage to add to the atmosphere .The Changing Garden has a diverse range of plants that, as the name implies, allow the colors of this part to change with the seasons.[11][2].All these items in designing of this park increase pleasure which have good impacts on public health.

(Figure5.Today Citroen Park)

2. Green spaces

The park’s heart is the great lawn. The park’s primary axis runs through a large rectangular stretch of turf. The concept of “architecture flowing through nature and nature through architecture” is evident here. In this location, the park strikes a wonderful balance between natural and man-made habitats. Even though the grass is surrounded by man-made structures such as greenhouses and retaining walls, it nevertheless feels incredibly natural. The grass plain is large, and it is surrounded by trees and hedges [12][1]. (Figure4) The Abandoned Lot On the few sunny days in Paris, a wide lawn area fills the park’s center, where individuals and families promenade, play, and enjoy picnics. The park is framed by a grove of Cypress trees. The latter is home to a wide range of Mediterranean plants and trees [13][2].

Visitors will find dark-leaved trees in the Black Garden, and they will see how nature transforms as the seasons pass in the Changing Garden. The Serial Garden, which flawlessly combines the vegetation with each garden name, and the Garden of Movement, which represents Clément’s notion of the third landscape, are both examples of this [14][2]

3. Safety

It’s not just about putting up good lights when it comes to increasing visibility. Uncertainty is evoked by paths and corners with poor visibility. Urban designer’s job is to create outside environments that don’t feel completely isolated. While semi-secluded locations like secret gardens are appealing, toying with levels allows for the creation of partially enclosed spaces while preserving the necessary safety. The park of André Citroen in Paris is a good example of this, as it was designed as a series of visually detached gardens that were still visible from the park’s elevated bridges and other higher points [15][5]. Feeling of being safe has a profound influence on mental health, which connected to physical health directly.

4. Activity

When the weather is nice, here is the spot to go to throw a Frisbee, practice ping-pong, or cool down in the fountains on a hot day. You may sprint through the fountains, which is useful to know if you’re visiting Paris in July or August. Even if you don’t participate, witnessing the drenched Parisians run around will bring a smile on your face [16][6].Visitors are invited to stroll on the grass here, however doing so will imprison them in the canal moat around them. Returning to the main route is the only way out of the lawn. This is likely to support the design plan’s movement motif, as this component of the lawn invites visitors to continue exploring the park’s other attractions [17][1]. (Figure5)

(Figure5.activities in Citroen Park)

The park contains a large playground with distinct spaces for kids of different ages, as well as a sprawling green lawn that stretches all the way to the Seine. If the weather permits, you can even ride in a little hot air balloon. If a game of soccer has worked up an appetite in you or your children, there is a large concession stand in the center of the park where you can get a snack [18][6].Doing these all activities increase people’s mental and physical health in Paris.

Conclusion

This study investigated Citroen Park as a case study of industrial wasteland, which was changed its function to the public park to improve public health. At first, it talked about the Historical background of this land which showed it was a dark and polluted one, and then it was changed to the public park, which could help the public health in Paris. But the question is, how did this post-industrial public park improve public health? This survey studied some factors that had a massive influence on the development of public health in the past and even nowadays. These design items consist of pleasure, green spaces, safety and activities.

  • Pleasure is a factor that improves mental health by various designing items such as aesthetic, peaceful visual design and excitement.
  • Green spaces and planting are design factors which can improve mental and physical health both: 1.With it’s aesthetic and visually features improve the mental health and decrease tension and pressure of citizens, 2: Help the city such as a lung of the city to reduce the pollution, diseases and death rate.
  • The design factor of safety causes the citizens who use this public park to feel comfortable and pass their time without any pressure, which increase mental health.
  • The other factor is activities. Citron Park is designed with distinct features and parts that let people of any age and generation do whatever they like, from exercising, walking, cycling and running to picnic or laying under the sunshine and enjoying its warmness. Even the fountains let children play near their parents. These all activities have severe effects on mental and physical health.

In most countries nowadays, we see some abandoned lands that ruin the city’s face; some are industrial wasteland yet, and others are abandoned because of other reasons. Urban designers can redesign these lands and change their function to public parks like Citroen Park in Paris, but only changing the function is not enough; they should notice citizens’ demands and factors that improve public health and use them in their design.

Bibliography

  1. Riha, Michael. 2004. “Parc Andre Citroen South of Paris France Landscape Architects: Gilles Clement and Alain Provost.”
  2. Lee, Ronlad. 2016. “10 Projects That Make Excellent Use of Planting Design.” Land8. https://www.facebook.com/land8/. June 26, 2016. https://land8.com/10-projects-that-make-excellent-use-of-planting-design/.
  3. Boults, Elizabeth, and Chip Sullivan. 2010. Illustrated History of Landscape Design. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
  4. Weltman-Aron, Brigitte. n.d. “WEEDING OUT THE TRADITION: THE ANDRÉ CITROËN PARK IN PARIS.” Accessed June 15, 2021.
  5. Network, Land8: Landscape Architects. 2015. “How to Design out Crime with Landscape Architecture.” Land8. 2015. https://land8.com/how-to-design-out-crime-with-landscape-architecture/.
  6. “Parc André Citroën, Paris’s Funnest Park | Urbansider.” n.d. Urbansider. Accessed June 26, 2021. https://www.urbansider.com/pick/parc-andre-citroen/.
  7. Loures, Luis, and Thomas Panagopoulos. 2007. “Urban Parks and Sustainable City Planning-The Case of Portimão, Portugal.”
  8. Network, Land8: Landscape Architects. 2014. “Is The André Citroën Park Really One of The Worst Parks in Paris? – Land8.” Land8. December 18, 2014. https://land8.com/is-the-andre-citroen-park-really-one-of-the-worst-parks-in-paris/.

Figures References

  1. “Works – PublicSpace.” n.d. Home – PublicSpace. Accessed June 27, 2021. https://www.publicspace.org/works/-/project/z011-parc-andre-citroeen.
  2. &5. Network, Land8: Landscape Architects. 2014. “Is The André Citroën Park Really One of The Worst Parks in Paris? – Land8.” Land8. December 18, 2014. https://land8.com/is-the-andre-citroen-park-really-one-of-the-worst-parks-in-paris/.
  3. Boults, Elizabeth, and Chip Sullivan. 2010. Illustrated History of Landscape Design. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
  4. “Parc André Citroën-Cévennes {avec Gilles Clément, Alain Provost, Jean-Paul Viguier Architectes et Paysagistes}.” n.d. World Architecture Community | Architecture News & Awards. Accessed June 27, 2021. https://worldarchitecture.org/architecture-projects/pcge/parc-andr-citronc-vennes-avec-gilles-cl-ment-alain-provost-jeanpaul-viguier-architectes-et-paysagist-project-pages.html.

[1]. Riha, Michael. 2004. “Parc Andre Citroen South of Paris France Landscape Architects: Gilles Clement and Alain Provost.”p.3.

[2] Lee, Ronlad. 2016. “10 Projects That Make Excellent Use of Planting Design.” Land8. https://www.facebook.com/land8/. June 26, 2016. https://land8.com/10-projects-that-make-excellent-use-of-planting-design/.

[3] Riha, Michael. 2004. “Parc Andre Citroen South of Paris France Landscape Architects: Gilles Clement and Alain Provost.”p.1.

[4] Boults, Elizabeth, and Chip Sullivan. 2010. Illustrated History of Landscape Design. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.P.227.

[5] Boults, Elizabeth, and Chip Sullivan. 2010. Illustrated History of Landscape Design. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.p.227.

[6] . Riha, Michael. 2004. “Parc Andre Citroen South of Paris France Landscape Architects: Gilles Clement and Alain Provost.”.p.1.

[7] Loures, Luis, and Thomas Panagopoulos. 2007. “Urban Parks and Sustainable City Planning-The Case of Portimão, Portugal.”

[8] Riha, Michael. 2004. “Parc Andre Citroen South of Paris France Landscape Architects: Gilles Clement and Alain Provost.”p.3

[9] Loures, Luis, and Thomas Panagopoulos. 2007. “Urban Parks and Sustainable City Planning-The Case of Portimão, Portugal.”.p.174.

[10] Weltman-Aron, Brigitte. n.d. “WEEDING OUT THE TRADITION: THE ANDRÉ CITROËN PARK IN PARIS.” Accessed June 15, 2021.p.5.

[11] Lee, Ronlad. 2016. “10 Projects That Make Excellent Use of Planting Design.” Land8. https://www.facebook.com/land8/. June 26, 2016. https://land8.com/10-projects-that-make-excellent-use-of-planting-design/.

[12] Riha, Michael. 2004. “Parc Andre Citroen South of Paris France Landscape Architects: Gilles Clement and Alain Provost.”p.2.

[13] Lee, Ronlad. 2016. “10 Projects That Make Excellent Use of Planting Design.” Land8. https://www.facebook.com/land8/. June 26, 2016. https://land8.com/10-projects-that-make-excellent-use-of-planting-design/.

[14] Lee, Ronlad. 2016. “10 Projects That Make Excellent Use of Planting Design.” Land8. https://www.facebook.com/land8/. June 26, 2016. https://land8.com/10-projects-that-make-excellent-use-of-planting-design/.

[15] Network, Land8: Landscape Architects. 2015. “How to Design out Crime with Landscape Architecture.” Land8. 2015. https://land8.com/how-to-design-out-crime-with-landscape-architecture/.

[16] Parc André Citroën, Paris’s Funnest Park | Urbansider.” n.d. Urbansider. Accessed June 26, 2021. https://www.urbansider.com/pick/parc-andre-citroen/.

[17] Riha, Michael. 2004. “Parc Andre Citroen South of Paris France Landscape Architects: Gilles Clement and Alain Provost.”p.2.

[18] Parc André Citroën, Paris’s Funnest Park | Urbansider.” n.d. Urbansider. Accessed June 26, 2021. https://www.urbansider.com/pick/parc-andre-citroen/.

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