Volcanic Biome - a park system as a territorial enabler
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Volcanism in metropolitan France appears as a unique phenomenon and feature. Located in central France in the Auvergne region, Clermont-Ferrand and the Chaîne des Puys are the theater of the establisment of a new park system concept. Indeed, the project aims to establish a stepping stone park system enhancing the soil memory, history and identity of the territory. The site may be considered as a high valuable landscape with important ecological values and international recognitions. The Chaine des Puys and the Limagne fault are both in the Unesco lists while the lower part of the territory shelter most of the settlements and the fertile land with the Limagne plain and the Allier river to the East. The park system has been designed following the edge landscapes. Those edges are formed through lava’s flows, water action as well as contemporary elements as the highway banks. In addition to promoting soil memory and history, the park system recreate an ecological path from the volcanic plateau to the plain. A connection that has been lost through the last decades. Therefore, enhancing the beauty, ecology and legibility of the territory. The edges may react differently depending on their orientation, location and values. However, they are following the same planting framework and strategy so as to implement a visual continuity on the terriotory. Visible and recognisable through the site. The park system and revealing of the slopes will be made through a planting strategy bringing back the history of the territory as well as implementing a strong visual aspect. Indeed, the three main entities, populus, pyrus and prunus, have been chosen for their blooming colours, their ecological values and the link they have with the territory and history. First the poplar following a raw planting strategy to mark the upper part of the slopes. Then the slopes will be composed of pear and cherry trees to correlate with the historical agriculture past of the slopes. Next a natural and more dense planting at the limit of the lava flows and finally a more spreading staggered planting as to have a continuous flow as a moving lava in the city. Transplanting the planitng strategy into a planting diagram gives a fluid movement alongside the slopes. The volcanic’s slopes are therefore the theater of the enhancement of the legibility of the territory and its geomorphological features through the trees’ beauty. A visual beauty with their blooming colors and forms or an ecological beauty, bringing back a flourishing ecosystem. The establishment of this new park system concept on Clermont-Ferrand’s territory may offer an opportunity for the city and its surrounding landscape to reconnect while preserving and enhancing the natural beauty and ecological values of the space. The preservation of the voids and the enhancement of the topographic features allows a discontinuous park system through the dense urban core of Clermont, while reconnecting the Chaîne des Puys to the Allier. The project is establishing the future cultural identity of Clermont-Ferrand and the Chaîne des Puys through the design of a large-scale stepping stone park system based on soil memory. Thereby incorporating past and contemporary elements. Elements designed with various scales -from regional to local- and through the interactions of various layers.