R-Urban is a bottom-up strategy that explores the possibilities of enhancing the capacity of urban resilience by introducing a network of resident-run facilities to create complementarities between key fields of activity (economy, housing, urban agriculture, culture). R-Urban initiates locally closed ecological cycles that will support the emergence of alternative models of living, producing and consuming between the urban and the rural.
To overcome the current crises (climate, resources, economic, demographic), we must, as philosopher Andre Gorz says, ‘produce what we consume and consume what we produce’. This balance between production and consumption through local sustainable sourcing can not occur without changes in the living and working lifestyles of citizens who must be involved in these changes through collaborative practices supporting each other through local networks. Flows, networks and circuits of production-consumption will be formed through these activities, with an emphasis on sustainability.
R-URBAN provides tools and resources to facilitate citizen involvement in this project, including accompanying emerging projects at local and regional levels that are working to meet the same ends. Agency R-URBAN was established to steer the implementation of the first pilot units of production in Colombes, France which must act as a catalyst for the formation of local networks and practices around recycling and ecological-construction, urban agriculture and cooperative housing. Cooperative land has now been established through the involvement of the Cooperative and Social Bank NEF and NEF Gestion with a view to acquiring land and supporting projects which support R-URBAN’s strategy. Currently a R-URBAN charter is being developed in collaboration with all those involved in the project.
This website is both a window on the R-URBAN projects and a toolkit for all those involved in the establishment of R-URBAN, initiating their own projects or by joining the existing network.
R-URBAN in Colombes
Several pilot projects are currently being developed in Colombes, a town of 80,000 inhabitants in the northwestern suburbs of Paris. In its initiation phase the project proposes the creation of a resilient network based around three prototype production units with complementary urban functions bringing citizens emerging projects together and actively involving local people in and around Colombes:
- AgroCité - a unit of urban agriculture which consists of a micro-experimental farm, community gardens, educational and cultural spaces and devices for energy production, composting and rainwater recycling.
- RecyLab – a recycling and green building constructed around a series of equipment for the recycling of urban waste and turning them into materials for eco-construction.
- ECoHab – a residential unit, cooperative and ecological consisting of a number of experimental units and community spaces which in part are self-built.
The three units will operate through local production-distribution cycles and will be gradually connected with other urban facilities, helping to increase the capacity of urban sustainabilty and resilience (self-sufficiency, production and recycling to local and regional levels, etc.).
R-URBAN is supported by the EU Life + Programme of environmental governance. The project partners are AAA (coordinator) and the City of Colombes (for the three pilot units) and Public Works, London (for a mobile unit). A network of partners is being formed for the dissemination of the R-URBAN strategy on larger scale by including partners from Belgium, Spain, Romania, Germany, etc.