“Our projects are optimistic, open and focused on the spontaneous population of the city”
– Collectif etc
Following our last week’s post on Place au Changement, and still in the frame of our placemaking series, we were curious to meet with collectif etc. From the other side of the Pyrenees, we managed to contact them on their Détour de France, so they could share some impressions about their experience in Saint-Etienne, and ideas about placemaking.
The Détour de France
Since October 2011, collectif etc has started a Détour de France, a trip around France to meet different makers of the city – inhabitants, associations, professionals, institutions – who seek for alternative ways and models of generating the urban fabric.
“The making of the city formerly follows complex and vertical processes, according to a hierarchy often excluding the population concerned. Public urban projects tend to remain in the professional field of architects, consultants and clients (often local or national administrations) and to generate isolated solutions from the community’s real needs.
In response to this gap, new participatory processes are emerging in various cities in France, aiming to involve the population in building their own living environment. We are off to meet the actors behind these initiatives, and work with them in the social making of the city.”
The itinerary was initially based on the collective’s established contacts, yet it remains flexible to any potential opportunity along the way. Until august 2012, Collectif etc will be pedaling, meeting, sharing, creating, building, tinkering and designing, adding the preferred co- prefix according to the different people they encounter on the way.
Two objectives in mind:
1. make a census and build a network of the different actors involved in a social making of the city
2. collaborate with them along the trip on interventions in public space
Active since September 2009, Collectif etc is a combination of sparking energy, innovative dynamics, social engagement, creative experimentation and human interactions. Their practice materialises in various forms – built structures, ephemeral interventions, urban furniture, workshops and debates – where the common key is about generating a process, and building a community. Their projects take root in the existing climates of exchange and creation, grow from collective action and intelligence, and catalyse the existing dynamics of the community into the design of their living environment.
In short, a breath of fresh air in the scope of city related professionals. You can be sure to here from them again.