Bringing nature back into our towns is a real challenge; for the director of Agence Horizons in Marseille it's a daily combat. The road is long, but there's still hope. Or at least let's hope so.
Since graduating from the National School of Landscape Architecture in Versailles (ENSP) in 1990, Jérôme Mazaz has been teaching at the school's branch in Marseille (his home town) and acting as landscape design adviser to the government. But above all he is constantly insisting on the urgent need to respect the Earth and readapt to the cycles of nature. For our own survival. "The imbalances have been identified as starting in the late 19th century, after the industrial revolution, and we can now measure the impact of human activity on their alarming acceleration. It is vital that we quickly find the dividing line between what's tolerable and what is not." That is exactly the question, according to this ardent defender of public space and of participatory consultation, who has been commissioned to landscape the roofs of the covered cuts for Marseille's L2 by pass. "Admittedly discussions take place and some efforts are made in public policy. But it's clear that Nantes and Rennes, for example, woke up to the issue long before the towns along the Mediterranean coast, where financial, economic and electoral issues still predominate and push environmental issues, vital though they are, into second place."