Grounds for Change: Activating Vacant Land

Parc du Sausset


Tags: agriculture, brownfield, building, earthworks, Europe, farm, farming, forest, forestry, France, grow, hedgerow, industrial, industry, landforms, landscape, lotsoflots, meadow, Paris, park, phasing, planting, play, production, remediation, repurpose, trails, trees, urban, vernacular

A mixed-use large-scale park influenced by vernacular French landscapes.

Parc du Sausset is located in Seine Saint-Denis, a metropolitan department northwest of Paris. The park site was historically used for cereal farming, and is completely surrounded by industrial facilities. A Citroen factory, a convention center, and Villepinte Hospital are just some of these massive buildings. A road and railway cross through the site, as do two streams.

Parc du Sausset was designed by Michel Corajoud, the landscape architect who won a 1978 departmental competition to determine the park's redesign. The competition stressed landscapes balanced between city and "forest park"; in this spirit, Corajoud implemented three program elements: urban park, forest, and bocage. The urban park is the most traditional and recognizable of the park's landscapes, comprising water features and plazas like many European city parks. The forest area is the a locus for urban forestry and plant propagation--an "agro-horticultural zone," or preserve. The bocage, a borrowed term for a vernacular French rural landscape, combines recreational paths and routes with productive landscapes, children's farms and vegetable gardens that double as environmental education classrooms.


Urban Arboretum: From Vacancy to Hybrid Landscape. Landscape Architecture 414. The Pennsylvania State University College of Arts and Architecture, Spring 2010.

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