Many global risks of population increasing and climate change are concentrated in urban areas, such as heat stress, water& soil pollution, air pollution, and extreme weather events, which lead to a less liveable urban environment. Therefore, urban inhabitants desperately demand of natural environment to underpin our economic prosperity, health and well-being. City parks as a major part of green infrastructure of the city can make a huge active contribution to urbanism. Parc de La Villette in Paris is a successful case.
It was designed by a famous deconstructionist architect BernardTschumi in 1982. If the park of Palais de Versailles is the representative of traditional French Garden in 19th century, La Vilette would be the representative for the 20th century. It’s a unique modern park, full of charm, and profound ideological significance. It’s also a open green space combining sports, entertainment, natural environment and culture, simultaneously meeting citizen’s physical and mental demands.
When I came into the park in a winter morning, I saw many people jogging along the river, on the bridge, and in the green paths. Children play in entertainment area. Even Chinese do the yangko dance in the lawn. What a welcome place it is!
Based on my experience, I would come up with some explanations for its success.
Firstly, Easy Access. It is a open park without boundary, well integrated into city context. There are also two metro stations around the park, which are the great connections to the city transportation.
Secondly, Creative Space Experience. The combination of points, lines, and surfaces create a rigorous and colourful space. The 26 red folies located at the cross points of 120m by 120m’s grid, controlling the park’s overall pattern. Some of them have real functions like cafe, information centre, art gallery, and infirmary, which provide more possibilities for people to go into and stay in the park. Ten theme parks as the surface offer different occupants relatively independent and private space. They look like multiple movie scenes, where tourists can feel the sense of multi-dimension of time and space. It’s quite interesting. The long corridor, bridge, and winding alley as the elements of lines, connecting the 10 theme parks, which also are the best touring routes. While walking through them, you can experience the colourful and vibrant spectacles in different zones.
Thirdly, Visitors’ Participation and Uncertainty of Function. It’s not a landscape only to be seen, but a participating and communicating place. Meanwhile, the function of those landscape structures and theme parks can be transformed at times to meet the occupants’ demands.
All in all, Parc de La Villette is a terrific place where natural environment and artificial landscape combined well, promoting health of urban inhabitants and encouraging social interaction and relaxation.