Planning the waterfront of Porto Novo's laguna

Porto-Novo 2009 / Benin
Student Workshop
10 June 2009 / 16 June 2009

In November 2005, a first workshop of urban planning had focused on the importance of using the waterfront of Porto Novo’s laguna as a public space, opened to everyone. It had also underlined that it was crucial :

▸ to maintain a great diversity of uses while respecting the very particular ecosystem of the waterfront,
▸ to open the waterfront to private investment,
▸ to look for an equilibrium between traditionnal lagunas’ economy and tourism.

4 years later, the municipality has changed but its will to keep the control of its own urban planning - thanks to recent decentralisation - has not changed. Discovering that a waterfront urbanisation plan had been ordered by the Chamber of Trade and Industry of Benin, and that this plan was barely matching with Les Ateliers’ former propositions, the new mayor of the city, M. Oceni, decided to call for Les Ateliers, again.

The aim was to give to the municipality, and its institutionnal partners, a directive-map of urban planning of the waterfront, enabling :

• to elaborate in the short run an urban planning map that could be opposed to anyone acting on this perimeter.
• to re-orient some new construction projects, that did not match the vision of the municipality
• to establish, in the long run, a general program of valorisation of the waterfront able to arouse interest and to welcome private initiative, while maintaining the unique characteristics of the landscape and of the lagunas ecosystem.
• to create a regular frame of discussion between public and private partners.

In 5 days, the team of 10 participants managed to produce a synthetic work offering :
▸ to give simple principles of urban planning considering the whole city, according to the 2005’s workshop propositions
▸ to define in a map the main lines of a waterfront urban plan, articulating East and West riversides around a "Capital Square"
▸ more detailed examples on important topics : densification, interactions between city and water, public spaces.

You can freely download the seesion book of this workshop on this page.


Decision Board : Luc Raimbault, Architect-Urbanist ; Vincent Bourjaillat, Urbanist ; Nicolas Detrie, Director of Les Ateliers


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