Ile de France 2020 France Paris-Cergy workshops

Moving to the flow of the River Oise

Seeing water as source to dynamize the city (life) in Cergy-Pontoise
  • Bassin de vie de Cergy de Pontoise
  • Les Huit Bio-Régions Franciliennes

Main rivers and their tributaries are exceptional places in the geography of a city. Nonetheless, they have long been ignored or relegated to “supportive or productive” functions, whether it be defensive, commercial, logistical or that of waste management. Now, however, with the meteorological, climatic, ecological and sanitary events and uncertainties of the last decades, it is clear that the relationship between the geography of water and its host territory must be reexamined in a far more comprehensive way.

Regardless of whether they are wild, developed or neglected, rivers must be reconciled with their dedicated urban spaces so that their true value and numerous qualities can be appreciated.

Increasingly, the notion of a “city of water” is becoming an essential part of development programmes, often in conjunction with transportation and mobility policies, strategies for the creation of eco-neighbourhoods as well as those for the preservation of natural wetlands and flood-risk prevention.

Such policies and strategies are crucial levers for supporting territorial development. As they contribute to a territory’s image, dynamism and attractiveness, they also bring an “economic” and productive value to the geography of water.

At a time when questions are being raised about the possible transfer of land transport to rivers, the importance of strengthening river tourism, the impact of intense meteorological events or the increasing land pressure on cities and countrysides, the once ignored potential of rivers is being redesigned.

What kinds of resilient management strategies can be applied to waterways and their surroundings? What are the relationships and synergies between hydrography and an existing urbanized space? What are the productive forms of integrating water into urban strategies — ecological, economic, cultural, social, or as a vector of well-being? What new uses can be envisioned for local residents?

Focus area: The “living area” of Cergy-Pontoise

A territory to the northwest of Grand Paris, the “living area” (a population catchment area with its own sphere of influence, referred to as a bassin de vie in French) of Cergy-Pontoise is organized geographically around what is considered its spine: the Oise River (once known as the Isara). In the past, it was a strategic area for trade and defence, a former administrative boundary at the crossing of the Seine in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, a popular holiday destination for metropolitans and a land of inspiration for the impressionist painters of the late 19th century. Then, in the 1970s, the New Towns programme took the specific landscape features of the Oise’s riverbeds to establish what would become Cergy-Pontoise. Fifty years later, the early decision to limit urbanization along the banks of the Oise and to preserve the authentic setting of their ancient urban settlements are just some of many elements that distinguish this area, which also serves as the gateway to the agricultural plateau of Vexin and the Grand Paris metropolitan area.

How can we give the Oise a role to play in the “living area” of Cergy-Pontoise? How can the river contribute to the metropolitan project? What is its relationship to the Seine? How can the Oise Axis be revealed and made to shine? What urban integration strategies are needed to reveal the identity of the territory? In what ways can users reappropriate the public spaces around the river?


To express your interest in participating to the workshop, please send your CV and an expression of interest email to:


from Nov. 22, 2020
to Dec. 8, 2020

Workshop from 22th of november to 8th pf December in Cergy-Pontoise, France

Strict health and barrier measures will be implemented all along your stay with us in Cergy



Hanaà Msallak Jobbé-Duval, Architect, Urban planner

Bastien Vernier, géographer, Urban planner / fabmanager


Maud Corcoral, Environnementaliste-Urbaniste

workshop's partners