Urban life

Since 2009, the Seine-Saint-Denis County Council has been backing “la Culture et l’Art au Collège (CAC)”. This project is based to a large extent on the presence in class for several weeks (40h) of an artist or scientist whose mission is to engage the students in a process of research and creation. 

 

Tutors: Abra Marie Walsh, Nassima Zeggaï, Oriane Letourneur, Mina Saidï/ geographers

Project manager: Mathieu Marion

 

Objectives:
Whether streets are wide or narrow, in a village or a city, urban life would not be the same without them. We go out into the street, go for a stroll, sometimes take part in a demonstration or meet people we know. But for geographers who observe these rituals, there are many other things – not as visible but just as important – that shape and define our streets. In this project, the pupils discover what a street is today, analyse the consequences of its spatial organisation on the life of the city dwellers, but also see what a street has to say about our society.

Workshops:
What is a street?
By reading maps, especially on Google Earth, interpreting photos from all over the world and studying statistics, the tutor showed the pupils how geographers analyse the idea of a “street” and how they have invented notions to describe it: public sphere and private sphere, connection between places, functions, social groups, etc. The pupils drew up a survey questionnaire.

Observing a street
With the tutor’s help, the class chose a street in its town as its survey area. They were then given digital tablets equipped with applications: camera, dictaphone, GPS, ArcGis, Google Earth, etc. Practical references, survey grids and a questionnaire completed their kit and the pupils set off to conduct a field survey in small groups.

Analysing a street
In this last stage, the pupils processed the data collected in the previous session. They had to show what was in their street and what could not be perceived without in-depth analysis. What is the street made of? What is it like in the day time and at night? Who uses it (men, women, or children) and how can it be described (quiet, busy, lively)?

Outcome:
The pupils designed a website to present their findings: http://www.lavieurbaine.fr/

 

Outings (selection):
- VISIT TO THE LASCAUX PROJECT AT THE PALAIS DE TOKYO (PARIS)
- VISIT TO THE CARTOGRAPHY DEPARTMENT OF THE INSTITUT NATIONAL DE GÉOGRAPHIE
- PAVILLON DE L’ARSENAL: GUIDED TOUR OF THE PERMANENT EXHIBITION “PARIS, THE METROPOLIS AND ITS PROJECTS”.
- FORUM DES IMAGES: “THE OUTLYING SUBURBS ON SCREEN” (A SELECTION OF FILMS ON TOWN PLAN

Participating schools: 
- Class (6th A) Collège Jules Michelet, Saint-Ouen
- Class (6th G) Collège Jean Vigo, Epinay-sur-Seine
- Class UPI Collège Louis Pasteur, Villemomble
- Class (6th 7) Collège Clos-Saint-Vincent, Noisy-le-Grand