20-06-2022 Green City

La Sauvegarde, an eco-friendly district in France designed to adapt to climate change

In the French city of Lyon, an ambitious sustainable town planning project aims to create the “landscaped city of tomorrow”.

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Are cities exposed to climate change risks? No, of course not, if a sustainable town planning is chosen. In the eco-friendly district of La Duchère in the French city of Lyon, an ambitious project aims to create the “landscaped city of tomorrow”. So we turn the spotlight on La Sauvegarde, a sub-district of La Duchère designed with climate challenges in mind.

The landscaped city for tomorrow’s world will open in 2030

Demolition began in 2019 and a rehousing program for the inhabitants has been conducted since 2016. The objective? To redesign the Sauvegarde with an urban renewal project by 2030.

In addition to the plan to open up the sector, improve housing and introduce new businesses, the project opens up green spaces and gardens and rethinks residences to adapt to climatic challenges.

Overall, this development totals:

  • 5.5 ha of public spaces in an overall surface area of 14 ha;
  • 3,400 sq.m. for commercial premises including shops and services (860 sq.m. );
  • 406 old residences to requalify, including 163 not covered by the ANRU (the French National Association for Urban Renewal (Agence nationale pour la renovation urbaine) convention;
  • 308 residences to be demolished;
  • 360 residences to be rebuilt.

General map of the La Sauvegarde project

A green urbanism project using the existing vegetation

In the middle of the La Duchère eco-friendly district, La Sauvegarde will use its preexisting landscaping - trees already account for 17% of the surface area of the project perimeter and green and public spaces 39%.

To go even further, the green belt which already surrounds the district will be densified. 
User-friendly green spaces will be created. Vallon Park will be extended with the addition of a public square. Shared gardens will be laid out and small gardens created at the feet of the buildings. To encourage biodiversity, green infrastructure continuity will be assured.

Map of the landscaping parts

Learn why green infrastructure is essential

Adapting the city to climate change

The reduction of heat pockets in a city which regularly suffers from heat waves is one of this project’s priorities. But the good ideas do not stop with creating oases of greenery in the middle of the housing complexes. To contribute to the wellbeing of the inhabitants, the buildings have been designed after an in-depth study of their needs.

For example, to harness bioclimatism, the buildings face south-west. The frontages, the insulation and the ventilation of the homes will be specially treated to guarantee climatic comfort.

A project designed to meet the locals’ wants and needs

Discussions with locals began in 2019. A Citizen’s Council was associated with the drafting of the project specifications and the juries which selected the construction companies.

Theme workshops were organized to let the population voice what they had in mind for their new district and express the wants, needs and doubts which can be associated with emerging green cities, such as:

  • Won’t the alleyways encourage even more motorized rodeos in the district?
  • Who manages and maintains the shared gardens (charters, fencing...)? 
  • Automobiles will still be allowed in the district. How have they been integrated into the project?

With information stands, public meetings and discussion workshops, the local authorities have ensured the full agreement of the locals and coherence between their wishes and the end result. Get the summary of these discussions here.

This eco-friendly district is an ambitious approach fully within the logic of sustainable town planning, while being based on real needs. A project which echoes Lyon’s Zénith Park, which used the Health Impact Assessment approach - rating the impact on health of creating a new green lung.

© Photo credit: ERIC / Adobe Stock

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Since its launch in 2009, Paysalia has been organized in co-production with UNEP which supports landscape contractors on a daily basis through its 13 regional unions. UNEP defends for the interests of businesses in the landscape and garden sector, develops social standards for the profession, and leads the creation of professional guidelines for the industry.