ALARIC – From past to future: identifying mechanisms of incremental change (2013)

Scientific coordinator: Georges Gay (EVS) –
Disciplines: Development – Urban planning – Information technology
Partners: Lyon metropolitan area urban planning agency (UrbaLyon) – Epures


Beyond the term itself, the “sustainable city” in the sense of a new urban potentiality is taking form incrementally via a variety of initiatives that are already in place, but whose appreciation is open to question.
The ALARIC project seeks to understand the nature and principles of this incremental urban change process by profiling it against a template from the past. It is posited that the shift to a technological society during the nineteenth century may be viewed as a heuristic reflection of the changes occurring today. Using the industrial territories of the Lyon Saint-Étienne urban area deserted by industry as a reference point, the ALARIC project aims to:

  • identify the modes of emergence of a new urban potentiality in its contemporary form, by comparing today's discourse and productions with previous experiences in the shaping of the city,
  • complete an inventory of the organisational and interpretive reasonings behind the inherited city,
  • distinguish, in the urban socio-spatial system that is currently taking shape, the elements of negotiation and interpretation that derive from / contrast with the methods of production of the industrial city.

Based on three thematic entry points – built forms, socio-technical mutations, relationship to the natural – ALARIC mobilises and compares the disciplinary specificities of geographers, historians, specialists in aesthetics and computer programmers in conducting three projects:

  • collecting data with the aim of forming a documentary corpus on urban change,
  • material and ideal deconstruction of the horizons of banality by reconstructing an original outline of the spaces analysed with the implementation of 3D reconstruction tools.
  • shift of analysis to present change to identify the reality of the “lasting city” currently being constructed.