Consultation Cherbourg
all rights reserved
Arrow to the leftArrow to the right
Consultation in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin

It is the summer, we embark you direction: the beach!

For the past year, Res publica has been supporting several projects to redevelop coastal towns that are well known to holidaymakers: La Baule-Escoublac, Le Touquet-Paris Plage and Cherbourg-en-Cotentin. These seafronts and their historic town centers are major public spaces for the identity of these seaside resorts, but also for the whole of their territories of influence. However, new uses (commercial, leisure and mobility) are having difficulty imposing themselves in order to renew the image of these areas. As a result, despite the attachment to these cult places, some users abandon their public spaces because of their lack of attractiveness, accessibility concerns due to pedestrianization (especially for people with reduced mobility) or competition from other commercial centers of influence. Issues already observed by our team in 2018, during the Granville 2030 consultation.

In reality, it is not easy to move from a tourist model dating from the 1970s and 1980s, based on the predominance of the car, to calmer public spaces, which will have a profound impact on the image of the city and its attractiveness for the next fifty years. Indeed, the projects must take up at the same time the challenges of attractiveness (tourist development, commercial dynamization, modernization of the city's image...) and those imposed by climate change (rising water levels, heat islands, energy consumption, sealing, modification of the coastline...).

Concertation La Baule

Consultation in La Baule-Escoublac

This implies a strong transformation of the uses and habits of the inhabitants, year-round or secondary residents, and of the users:

The opportunity of these projects is hardly questioned, but they raise concerns that are expressed in the framework of the consultation: transformation of the habits of rapid access to the waterfront, accessibility of spaces for people with reduced mobility, creation of a possible vegetal screen, lack of parking and traffic lanes, loss of clientele, amount of investments, etc. Under these conditions, it is necessary to discuss the adaptation of the cities to the medium and long term stakes while answering the expectations and fears of the concerned public.

Integrate citizens at the various stages of design 

Whether it was to prefigure the specifications of the project manager, as in Le Touquet, or at each stage of the project's development, as in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin and La Baule, the citizens began by carrying out their diagnosis of the project's challenges: what works today? what needs to change? They then debated with the designers and elected officials throughout the development of the project. This citizen's work made it possible to seek consensus, without denying the divergences, around expectations, recommendations and proposals for specific actions.

Concertation La Baule

Consultation in La Baule-Escoublac

Confronting points of view to arrive at a shared solution

During the exchanges on the future of our seaside cities, two diametrically opposed visions are opposed:

The challenge is then to go beyond individual postures and diagnoses of use to confront points of view and develop collective postures. It is necessary to take the time, beyond the diagnosis, to discuss changes in practices over time in order to bring out proposals resulting from deliberation among the stakeholders.

Reaching out to audiences far from the debate

These seaside towns do not only concern their main residents, but also audiences that are generally absent from consultations, namely: secondary residents, residents of neighboring towns, shopkeepers and tourism stakeholders, tourists themselves, as well as young people who use the coastal public space in their own way. The consultation, as a determining moment for the future of these cities, must involve all these publics by listening to them and mixing their points of view: workshops dedicated to shopkeepers, meetings in the field including during the summer, festive meetings, participatory exercise with the Municipal Youth Council, work with high school students... By organizing these modalities and by going out to find these audiences, Res publica has collected the issues of each one so that they can be taken into account by the project managers and the project owners in the design of the project, step by step.
Like any development project, the transformation of coastal cities requires changes in lifestyle and social ties. It is therefore a question of discussing the conditions for the acceptability of these changes: under what conditions will we be able to reduce the use of cars? How can we prepare together for rising water levels and heat island phenomena? These debates call for technical responses, but above all political and shared responses, to initiate lifestyles adapted to the coming years. The sharing of issues and proposals from all the stakeholders allows us to draw a collective vision, albeit contrasting, of the coastal city of tomorrow! Res publica is enthusiastic and will continue to accompany the transformation of lifestyles on the coast, by involving residents and users at every stage of the projects.
Gilles-Laurent RAYSSAC, Sophie GUILLAIN, Tania DESFOSSEZ,
August 2022
Res publica logoArrow to the left