R-Urban - France

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= " a vibrant project, strategy, and model of ecological resilience, R‐Urban, on the outskirts of Paris. R‐Urban is based on networks of urban commons and collective hubs supporting civic resilience practices".


This entry focuses on the Valuing the Commons methodolgy, but see also the companion entry: R-Urban Framework for Bottom-Up Urban Resilience

Contextual Citation

"We are reluctant to cede all econo‐metrics to the Capitalocene. If we are to build post‐capitalist urban resilience, we need tools to track inputs and outputs of money, labour, care, and conviviality. In a moment of transition, in which new metrics are not yet in place, monetized calculation is a way to create “membranes” to capture value from the dominant system, that we can filter and use in a different way."

- Katherine Gibson et al. [1]


Katherine Gibson et al.:

The project "was initiated by the activist architecture practice Atelier d'Architecture Autogérée (aaa) (Atelier d'Architecture Autogérée & PublicWorks, 2015; Petcou & Petrescu, 2018; Petrescu, Petcou, & Baibarac, 2016). This first R‐Urban project (2009–16) was established on the suburban outskirts of Paris in Colombes, a multicultural municipality where residents have incomes below the national average and where social housing towers are interspersed with single family dwellings. It was funded with an initial €1.2 million grant—50% from the European Union and 50% from local and regional funds including the Municipality which, at that time, was led by Social Democrats and Greens (R‐Urban, 2019).

The project commandeered unused land and in collaboration with local residents and the Municipality established two interconnected hubs for growing food, recycling material waste, conducting ecological education and cultural interchange. The Colombes sites were planned with a 10–15‐year horizon and were to become part of a network of civic hubs of local resilience to be further developed after the 2014 municipal elections (Atelier d'Architecture Autogeree & PublicWorks, 2015). After only 4 years of full operation, however, a new conservative right‐wing Municipal government closed the project down, but not before significant protests. A side effect was that a massive amount of data had been collected on the project's operations. The R‐Urban model has since been replicated in three additional urban areas of Paris (in Gennevilliers, Nanterre, and Bagneux by aaa) and in London (in Hackney Wick and Poplar by PublicWorks) with funding support from local municipalities." (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/eet.1890)