Les citadins, un désir de nature « sous contrôle », « fleurie et propre »

Abstract : Natural spaces contribute to the urban quality of life: the idea is now assured. They provide numerous benefits to the users. Cities are aware and they use these spaces as seductive argument to attract new inhabitants. Their elected representatives also exploit them as electoral argument. Green spaces play a part in improving the image of cities, to make them attractive. In the framework of the research project SERVEUR, funded by the French region Centre-Val de Loire, we focused on cultural ecosystem services and the use of natural spaces in medium cities. In this article, we particularly question the attraction exerted by green spaces: what kind of urban nature city dweller wants? This nature comes in various forms, from the ornamental garden, which is highly ordered, to the forest and natural park, where vegetation grows more spontaneously. What urban green spaces city dwellers approve better? How managers integrate this preference? We conducted observations and interviews in six medium cities in the French region Centre-Val de Loire, with two purposes: - to know the request of nature from city dwellers, through their uses and accounts, - to identify the resulting management practices, which municipal actors implement. This work shows that urban nature must be “under control” for both publics but their justifications are different. For inhabitants, the urban green space is first a quiet, recreational, secured and maintained space. Uses confirm this idea. Forests and semi-natural areas are less busy than ornamental gardens. City dweller declares that he appreciates nature. He asks for its presence in the city. But he also complains to managers about resulting inconveniences: he wants a nature, which doesn’t get dirty and he considers the spontaneous development of vegetation as a lack of maintenance. For managers, the perception of nature by city dweller is antagonistic; he wants benefits without disadvantages. In fact, he wants a nature “under control”. The municipal actors in charge of green spaces argue in the same direction. They say that they want “more nature” but that they also have to meet the expectations of city dwellers. Indeed, managers want that their parks are used and the elected representatives have an interest to meet the request of their electors. While differentiated management, with a declining use of chemical pesticides, stands out in all cities in France, encouraged by public policies, green spaces, even the less maintained ones, should not appear neglected for inhabitants. The natural dynamics are supervised to avoid “excesses” (tall grasses, fall of leaves, pollen...). The managers try to meet the desire of urban nature that city dweller shows. This desire is paradoxical and leaves more space to a managed nature, a nature “under control” than a spontaneous one.
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Contributor : Amélie Robert <>
Submitted on : Thursday, May 24, 2018 - 10:42:18 PM
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  • HAL Id : hal-01799599, version 1


Amélie Robert, Jean Louis Yengué. Les citadins, un désir de nature « sous contrôle », « fleurie et propre ». Métropoles, ENTPE, 2018, http://journals.openedition.org/metropoles/5619. ⟨hal-01799599⟩



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