par Fisher, Axel
Référence International conference on urban history - EAUH: European Association for Urban History "Cities in Europe, Cities in the World" (12th: 3-6 septembre 2014: Lisbonne (Portugal))
Publication Non publié, 2014-09-01
Communication à un colloque
Résumé : In Wallonia (Belgium’s French-speaking area), the notion of small town is often used from a geographic perspective within the frame of the region’s urban hierarchy. However, very little has been said about the forms and features of Walloon small towns’ urban fabric. Usually considered as “a land of laissez-faire, where the cacophonic juxtaposition of designs delivers surprise after surprise, where an intense poetry lurks side by side with a nauseating banality behind the commonplace of everyday habitation ”, the Belgian urban landscape has fostered very little urban history and almost no literature about its physical form.Within the frame of a research study funded by the Walloon regional government, aiming to establish guidelines for a compact-city policy, four small towns have been selected as case studies for an urban form study. Which growth dynamics, urban forms and urban issues can be singled out in Walloon small towns ?This paper outlines a number of distinctive physical patterns of Walloon small towns, and questions the use of this category through urban planning and design theory in Belgium across the century. As a result, it claims that the small town category is not only relevant to urban history, but is topical to contemporary urban design as well, in the face of the dominant concern for metropolitan and suburban contexts.