Aix-en-Provence Marseille

Aix-Marseille-Provence, France

Islands of Landscapes

Landscape is the immediately visible and powerful strength of a given territory. It can be sensed, and it is what characterises a given territory and binds it together. A metropolitan area is composed of islands of different types of landscapes such as ranges of hills, highlands, the Étang de Berre, or the plains of La Crau. Here, landscape is not countryside; it is not a faraway suburb. It is in and of the metropolis, and forms large future parks.
Islands of landscapes contribute highly qualitative proximity between urban and natural settings. The creation of active borderspace around these islands of landscapes protects them from urban development and it makes them accessible to the public at large.


The study by the LIN team, for the international consultation for the Aix-Marseille-Provence (AMP) metropolitan area, seeks to build an integrative approach based on the concept of the common good and territorial diversity. It works with both physical transformation of the area and its image. It seeks to move the entire area forward on every scale. Tangible actions and changes in ways of doing things have been proposed involving three major stakes:
Landscape islands, integrated mobility, economy/culture connections. The reciprocal stimulation between these three areas drives the potential of the area.


Due to its very nature, resilience has no stable definition. Resilience is intrinsically multi-scale, cross-disciplinary and holistic. It approaches subjects both of complexity and of uncertainty. Resilience can be technical when dealing with objects, regulatory when dealing with laws; it can deal with concepts. Resilience can be used as a working method and an instrument for planning.

Overall Vision

The Métropole project "Capital Paysages" contributes specific functionalities and in so doing it assigns tangible usefulness to natural spaces and develops the peripheral spaces that interface with the urban space.
Integrated mobility facilitates travel. The potential hybridization between human travel and transportation of goods, and the development of all modes of transportation is essential for the best adaptation to the territory, and to the dispersal of places. The metropolis of connections builds endogenous and exogenous relations with Toulon, with Arles, with the Durance River valley, the Rhone river corridor, with Europe and the Mediterranean basin. AMP growth will involve ecosystems which mobilise many different players, such as creators, entrepreneurs, researchers, government, users and financial backers.

Integrated Mobility

Much as chromosomes do for living beings, the mobility diagram expresses the specificity of metropolitan territories. However, though the area is currently well-connected to the outside world via air, sea, rail and motorways, the entire transportation blueprint must be considered from one end to the other, all the way through to user destination points. The proposed blueprint is organized along three scales:
-Macropolitan: Transports on the wide regional scale around the Rhone delta are structured along two diagonals of combined transportation.
-Metropolitan: The scale corresponding to the main metropolitan TC connections is organized by coastal navigation.
-Micropolitan: This scale corresponds to the diffuse nature of the territory, as it does also respond to local travel. The concept of "transferium" organises collection from low-density sectors, by car, by bicycle or on foot.


An integrated mobility network which inter-connects the area on different scales is not just based on flows. It also requires places to facilitate the exchanges between the flows. These places, which we call Transferium, are based on a concept introduced in the 1990’s in the Netherlands.
A transferium impacts the individual level. It is not just a place of exchange between flux but it is also a platform for the exchange of goods, of information, of ideas, and exchange between individuals. The nodal core also creates an urban core.
A network of transferium covers the entire territory to form a system which integrates all of mobility.
In covering the vast Aix-Marseille-Provence area, this system has the ability to project the identity of this metropolitan area. This identity, above and beyond a simple logo on a bus, is expressed differently depending on the sites.

L'Étoile Central Park

The small mountain range known as the “Massif de l’Étoile” is one of the islands of specific landscape in the metropolitan area. The peripheral borders of the range are among the most heavily urbanized. This range offers an outstanding relation of city-to-nature proximity. And yet the slopes of the hills are perceived as being “behind” the city, like space relegated from sight, far from mind (like the dump in Septèmes-les-Vallons).
Transformation of this range into a true central metropolitan park is a strong feature of the future metropolis.

West entrance to the Parc Central

The dump for Septèmes-les-Vallons is located at the base of the Étoile range. The dump overlooks the La Kalliste and La Savine districts and is the source of severe problems for these areas which see continuous heavy truck traffic.
Closure of this dump must serve as the opportunity to develop a significant project in this peripheral space between dense city and the Étoile Central Park.
The project proposes to undertake the following concomitantly:
- An entrance to the Central Park (information center, park resource center, food service)
- a leisure area for local inhabitants
- improve the land for the production of energy (gas produced from waste or solar energy).


Inspired by the German IBA, the French ETM "Équipes de Territoire Métropolitains" are Metropolitan Territorial Teams which are operational units in charge of specific sectors. These teams hold the knowledge of a given territory and create connections between the various stakeholders.
ETM teams are facilitators and accelerators for development.


The metropolitan area belongs to everyone. Leading a true public process and involving the metropolis dwellers in the future development of their territory is a significant task.

Project Data


AMP- Métropole Capital Paysages is a vision for the development of the metropolitan region of Aix-Marseille-Provence as well as a model of a prosperous and ecologically balanced territory.

Client: Mission Interministerielle Métropole Aix-Marseille-Provence;

Status:Territorial and urban consultation (2015), Text edition(2016)

Location: Aix-Marseille-Provence, France

Surface: 3,173 km²


Architects: LIN Architects Urbanists, Berlin/Paris: Finn Geipel, Giulia Andi

Fabienne Boudon (project manager), Lou Bellegarde, Océane Reveillac, Albin Lépine, Bruno Pinto da Cruz, Clara Fonder, Guillaume Pinton-Delteil, Khouloud Nechi; Urban analysis and Urbanism: SMETS Consultants in Urbanism bvba, co-traitant(Marcel SMETS) Urbanism and Architecture: ORG bvba, co-contracting; Paysage: ZUS/Zones Urbaines Sensibles, co-contracting; Mobility, territorial development, environment and urban planning: EGIS, co-contracting; Landscape economy: CMN Partners, subcontractor Sociology: Réparage Urbain, subcontractor; Artistic and participative Interventions: Yes we camp, subcontractor; Urban and landscape ecology: Michael Kleyer, consultant; Philosophy, society, culture: Joseph Hanimann, consultant; Architecture and Urbanism: Susanne Otto, Consultant relais local; Architecture – Urbanism: LIA (Chair of Finn Geipel at technical University, Berlin)

Islands of Landscapes
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Overall Vision
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Integrated Mobility
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L'Étoile Central Park
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West entrance to the Parc Central
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