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Le 10/09/2020

Banks of the Deûle Canal, a POC to reconnect town and countryside

Lille Metropole, with local stakeholders and citizens, set out, in a co-creative way, guidelines to develop the area, taking into account nature, transports, leisure and access to accommodation issues

The rehabilitation project of the Deûle Canal is one of the most successful proofs on concept (POC) that was developed within the public policy lab of Lille Metropole.

With the recent rethinking of urban spaces, many towns and cities are reclaiming their waterways as a key pillar of their urban development policy. Abandoned for decades, the Deûle Canal is now being considered as a major component of Lille Metropole’s redevelopment plans. The area bordering the canal concentrates numerous problems including housing, transport, urban, nature, leisure and transport issues and rehabilitation of the city’s industrial legacy.

To set a vision that takes into account all these questions, Lille Metropole proposed to set up a 20-year roadmap as a collective initiative. At the gateways between Lille, the suburb towns of La Madeleine, Saint-André and Marquette-lez-Lille, the Deûle Canal roadmap design involved different municipalities as well as local stakeholders and required close collaboration. A typical example in which public policy design process and the public policy lab provided an added value. 

As a project blending design thinking and urban planning, Lille Metropole has been working for the past year with local residents, associations, elected officials, planners and housing developers. Assisted by the design agency Atypie, they joined forces to establish guidelines to develop this area. After several working sessions, they agreed on five strategic objectives:

  • Respect nature and biodiversity ;
  • Encourage sports, tourism and cultural amenities ;
  • Guarantee access to accommodation for all households ;
  • Respect the architectural and landscaping quality ;
  • Promote sustainable transport.

These objectives have been set out in a consultation adopted by the metropolitan council in late 2019. A fine example of community involvement in the local democratic process and a POC success that demonstrate the necessity of collaborative approach to set up better public policies initiatives and projects.