Are we heading towards the end of cities? Five experts answer


“We had talked about the end of the campaigns… Today we are witnessing a turnaround in representations. The city was about youth, culture… Now, it would be loneliness, the loss of social ties, insecurity. We would have a kind of return to a rural Eldorado which would be thought of as a positive place. Then as now, these are only representations.explains Olivier Bianchi, socialist mayor of Clermont-Ferrand.

Two years of pandemic and an explosion of telework have profoundly changed our approach to the territory and our view of the city and the countryside. On the occasion of the “Obs” evening devoted to rurality, architect, teacher, elected official or writer, five personalities wondered about the future of cities, as seen in the video below.

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“City and countryside, we have long experienced it as territories that were segmented and opposed. In reality, the inhabitants have no borders. They live in areas that are increasingly porous, between peri-urban, rurban, rural, urban. They live in one place, work in another and seek recreation in a third.insists Olivier Bianchi.

“Today, we must build a France that is a France of territorial solidarity, of territorial alliance, to better meet the needs of the inhabitants. We must stop constantly opposing rurality and urbanity. »

The importance of essential mobility

The end of cities? “It’s not for”, observes Guillaume Faburel, professor of urban studies at the University Lumière Lyon 2. He reminds us that urban areas are constantly growing and expanding. To deal with the ongoing ecological upheaval, he calls for real awareness and a reversal of the trend:

“Maybe we’ll take up the president’s good word about the Amish. I believe that it is on the side of these cultures, so not Amish but of course other ways of doing things collectively, of becoming one with the living, of reintegrating into existential ecologies of life that the solution will have to be found. »

When Olivier Bianchi calls for a balance found on the scale of intermunicipal territories, the architect Simon Teyssou reminds him how essential the question of mobility is. He who regularly takes the train between Aurillac and Clermont-Ferrant to go to work two or three days a week at the school of architecture, what matters to him is not so much speed as the possibility of being able to connect his computer to work on the train that becomes his office. But today, “on the train between Aurillac and Clermont, there are practically no sockets to plug in…”laments the architect.

The end of cities? “That would be sad…”

Born into a family of peasants in Cantal and a teacher in Paris, the writer Marie-Hélène Lafon evokes a change, that of the city as well as that of the countryside: “Since at least the end of the 19th century, and what is called the rural exodus, this mutation has not ceased to occur, with more or less acute phases, others more or less slow, convulsions . »

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But the relationship between rural areas and urban areas is constantly shifting. And it may be that we are there, for reasons that we have not chosen at all, in particular the two years that we have just lived, on the eve of a rather decisive convulsion which would reshuffle the cards. »

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So, the end of cities? “That would be sad”, believes Florence Besson. The journalist tells how she managed to find her balance by dividing her time between Paris and the Basque Country.

One week in town, the other in the country: the double life of Florence Besson

The forty-year-old has not given up everything for the campaign. After her agricultural internships, she returned to “Elle”, of which she is now editor-in-chief responsible for diversification, and therefore continues to frequent the urban biotope. “Every other week, I live here. And the other, I’m in Paris. ” His dream ? “Let everyone know a farmer, be able to work the land with him, know where his food comes from… Let us all take action to preserve our territory. »



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