How do you hide an unsightly highway while simultaneously bridging two neighborhoods together? Build a park on top of it of course! Jardin Serge Gainsbourg is a new urban park in Paris complete with gardens, a playground, ball courts, a bus stop, rainwater collection and plenty of recreation space. Designed by Territoires, the 24,000 square meter (roughly 6-acre) park is built on top of the ring road at the Porte des Lilas, where it connects the neighborhoods of Lilas and Pré Saint Gervais with pedestrian paths and bike routes.
The ring road at the Porte des Lilas created a disconnect between two neighborhoods, so the city of Paris sought to bring them together. A design competition yielded a successful plan from local firm Territoires, who proposed bridging the gap with a new urban garden. The project is organized around a large open area in the center that includes a dedicated lawn and a wild meadow area. The center also holds a large pond which collects rainwater runoff (in addition to a large underground tank, which stores water for irrigation).
Jardin Serge Gainsbourg provides a variety of spaces for all sorts of activities including play, relaxation, reading, socializing and recreation. A pathway meanders from one side to the other to connect the neighborhoods and the spaces in the park together. A convenient bus stop serves the neighborhoods and encourages more pedestrian activity. The garden was completed in 2011 and it’s a great model for how cities can take back space for the people despite the need for transportation infrastructure.
Images ©Nicolas Waltefaugle