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Location: Town of Saintes, in the region of Charente-Maritime. France

Project Origin: Since 14 November 2002, as part of a public meeting, the town of Saintes has invited the public to participate in a process that allows the Saintais to participate together to the development of their city and the remodelling of the Place Bassompierre, built around a romane Arche.

Goal: Renovate the Place Bassompierre through a participatory consultation approach


January to March 2003: There are more than 150 people who participated in the six thematic groups organized to allow: sharing, exchange and joint research proposals tracks on the themes: History and Heritage, Architecture & Planning, Life on Iactivities in the Charente region, Traffic and Parking, Shops and services. The work of these groups were summarized in a small newspaper called “Place to Saintais.”

The exhibition of these works took place in council chamber, followed by the Communal Creation Workshop where all elected people and technicians are invited to identify and retain the outline that will lead to the specification.

This work engagement and consultation takes place before any project is launched by the municipality – this is unique. Indeed, municipalities often charge a team of local technicians in this first phase. The approach aims to offer people who are willing to mobilize and participate in the project management in order to say what should be taken into account to redevelop the site. As expressed by Bernadette Schmitt, Mayor of Saintes, in his presentation of his welcome speech Friday night in Council Chambers: “When one wants to transform his house, you say what you dream, what we want to … and then we called specialists, this is work that I invite you. ”

After the Communal Creation Workshop (Atelier de Création Commune)?
Three architectural firms were selected by the municipality as part of a tender. Representatives of these firms participate as listeners to the Atelier de Création Commune. At the end, they will aim to collectively implement a pre-program. Then, each architects will present a program of redevelopment.

Difficulties: Ensure that participatory approach is respected and that no stakeholder tries to influence the workshop dynamic

Achievement: Consultation lead to the specifications. Tender was then launched for architects to present a project.

Team: MDSL Intervention (Mouvement pour Développement Social Local Intervention)

Duration: 2002 – 2006

Client: Municipality of Saintes

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