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Studying urban regeneration in Lille

Following our earlier post about the 50 year anniversary of the Leeds-Lille partnership, today we look into an academic partnership which has arisen from the connection between the two cities. Our guest blogger is Dr Lindsay Smales from the School of the Built Environment and Engineering at Leeds Beckett University.

Last week saw the tenth occasion on which our undergraduate students visited Leeds’s twin city of Lille in Northern France. They were given guided tours of the Euratechnologies regeneration area, the city centre and South Lille sustainable neighbourhood by local planners from Lille City Council.

On the final day we met with French students from our partner college, Lycee Pasteur, and held a workshop during which they were challenged to outline the characteristics of future sustainable cities. This took place at the fantastic venue of CAUE du Nord (The Conseil d’Architecture d’Urbanisme et de l’Environment).

Even though our students have only been on their courses for four weeks, they evidenced a sophisticated understanding of the social, economic and environmental issues facing future built environments and how their planning and design can help to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Three weeks ago, staff and students from The School of The Built Environment and Engineering attended an event at Leeds Town Hall to celebrate the fifty years since the start of the twinning relationship between our two great cities. This saw the first viewing of a short film in which the leaders of both cities, and the staff of LBU and Lycee Pasteur, celebrated the value and significance of our partnership and links.

On their return, the students will write reports, as part of their ‘Sustainable Places’ module, on the ways in which Lille is managing to become a more sustainable city.

Whilst in Lille, I met with the organisation that is planning a major year-long event during which Lille will become ‘World Design City’ for 2020, with a view to creating projects in which Leeds Beckett students from across the university can work with Lille University and others on design based initiatives – to be set up and organised during 2019. The main one of which seems to be focussed around the qualities of sustainable cities!

A good, fun, interesting and educational time was had by all last week and there are exciting future links and collaborations to explore and develop.

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