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Moulins (FR)

Category Urban - environmental - architectural

Location Moulins - Neuvy (03000)

Population Conurbation (26 municip., 750 sqm) 58,000 inhab. - Moulins 22,667 inhab.

Strategic site 570 ha - Project site 105 ha

Site proposed by Moulins Communauté and the Town of Moulins

Owner(s) of the site Moulins Communauté, Town of Moulins, social landlord

Commision after competition Urban study, urban project management, public space project management, some architectural project management missions could be introduced

Team representative architecte - urban planner - landscaper















More info

How can the site contribute to the adaptable city?

The site is located along the Allier river which flows through the city and connects the heritage past and landscape, full of history, with the whole intermunicipal territory. 
The site is experiencing strong urban evolutions owing to the implementation of a new bridge to speed up traffic flows on the current Régemortes bridge, the one and only but dilapidated crossing point between the two banks. Thus, the right bank - holding the heart of the old town - and the left bank – a potential support for new urbanity – will have to find mutual accommodation. In a local context of demographic decline, the perspective of this new crossing infrastructure is in line with an open projects and large-scale approach aimed at linking a stimulating process which supports the emergence of public or private initatives, more localised, imbued by the intervention contexts. Eventually, an urban coherency will have to emerge from the different territories, using the river as their basic feature and the banks to merge them. Thus, the objective is to welcome and allow the appropriation of new places of living, fostering social connections to create a harmonious balance between the two banks. The project can play a pro-active part for all the possible actors only if it is introduced in a dynamic framework for thinking about the new approaches that could be found, regarding the multiple appropriations of the urban space.

City strategy

The City has undertaken policies to requalify the banks of the Allier. Various projects have been carried out, especially on the right bank side in favour of soft mobility. Similarly, a recreational area has been created upstream of the river, related to the urban renewal programme launched in some districts like the « grands ensembles », social housing in Southern Moulins. With the creation of a new bridge over the Allier, there is a will to keep these actions going to make possible the connection between the bridge and networks technology and the landscape enhancement.
The left bank of the Allier, also called La Madeleine district, has kept a wild aspect. The forecourt of the Centre National du Costume de Scène, a key place for cultural and tourist attractiveness in this entry sector of the city, is naturally extended by a tree-planted wide public space. Heading to the North, the extension of the roads into the depth of the urban or agricultural sectors (it was negociated with a lot of diplomacy) has shown opportunities for a maturation of a contemporary urbanity pending to be studied and implemented.
Moulins Communauté and the City are looking for innovative proposals that could foster a dynamic for a global development on the left bank thanks to a balance which benefits the whole conurbation.

Site definition

The Allier separates the old districts of the City –dense and rich in a remarkable architecture- built on the right bank, from the Madeleine district, urbanised during the 19th and 20th centuries and whose roads are more or less continuously bordered. Despite no articulation zone between natural and urbanised sectors, the river resists to the urban pressure and some of its banks still have a wild aspect. Thanks to its high environmental and ecological qualities, the river was classified as a Natura 2000 site. The banks, beyond the beaches, more or less domesticated or covered by vegetation, have been backfilled in order to dam the river bed and to prevent the city from flooding.
It has already been decided that the future bridge will be located on the extension of the Cours de Bercy, on the right bank. Beyond, a sports complex has been built along the Allier. Despite the development projects that were carried out, the banks are still bearing the stigma of the former National Road 7 which became, in 1996, a bypass for the town. The way the different spaces are organized highlights some issues : the road network, concentrated above the river banks, has encroached some parts of the land over time until the houses ground floors were buried while a backfill was emerging on the other side. The left bank is characterized by heterogeneous suburban buildings around the Régemortes bridge and by the former Villars barrack (registered as historic monument) hosting now the Centre National du Costume de Scène which gives additional value to the bank and that should be enhanced. The landscape is also strongly marked by the commercial equipment overlooking the view over the bank.

Future of the site in relation to the site family and Adaptability

Regarding the change of this sector, teams are invited to work on innovative scenarios that fully integrate nature into city. It is a question of implementing an adaptable gestion of the project to rebalance the territory in a harmonious way and take into account the river - outstanding natural space - and its surrounding landcape, while considering its new crossing and its inherent flood risks.
It also means to adapt to environmental, regulatory and temporary constraints, specific to the territory at the heart of the conurbation (« urbanising » without growth) and to create the conditions for an economic (new or existing activities and sectors) and social (supply of housing, performing and economical services) attractiveness.
These factors of a steady change will generate a leverage effect and influence the whole community territory.
Candidates will also be encouraged to suggest mobility solutions, in continuity with the need of an ecological transition, to focus on a re-appropriation of the city within its social and human dimensions. 
Therefore, rhythms and duration of changes, role of the actors, prospective notions of usage, economic considerations are a windfall to program and implement opportunities that could enhance the quality of public space. It will reveal a specific environment in which new connexions will create future crossings. Made of continuities and urban porosity, this environment should be developed and articulated between city and countryside.



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