The Urban Nurseries

What is an Urban Fabric Initiative?

Urban Fabric Initiatives are collaborative public space design projects inspired by participatory, tactical or transitional urban planning practices.

They bring together local governments, citizens, contracting authorities and urban professionals to develop public spaces on a neighborhood scale. Supported by the Agence Française de Développement, they work on various types of spaces, including sports, mobility, transport and leisure infrastructure, green spaces and public areas.

By placing citizens at the heart of the approach, Urban Fabric Initiatives aim to promote an inclusive approach to urban design, and to respond as effectively as possible to the needs of local residents.

Urban Fabric Initiatives Network
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A collaborative approach

  1. Diagnosis

    Participatory socio-economic diagnosis of possible areas of intervention; identification of needs expressed by residents.

  2. Co-design

    Co-design of facilities and sites; workshops, activities and events, or call for initiatives from residents, users, civil society organizations or local businesses.

  3. Co-construction

    Work carried out in close collaboration with local craftspeople; construction works carried out with a “learn-by-doing” approach for capacity reinforcement; promoting the use of local materials and know-how.

  4. Collaborative management

    Support for the management of spaces by stakeholders to ensure the sustainability of facilities and equipment.

For an inclusive urban fabric

The work of Urban Fabric Initiatives is guided by four key principles:

  • An experimental approach

    Encourage experimentation and the exploration of new ideas.

  • Promoting new practices

    Encourage alternative, sustainable and inclusive ways of (re)creating the city.

  • Citizen participation

    Actively involve residents throughout the project.

  • Link to an urban project

    Quickly improve residents' quality of life by compensating for delays in the implementation of large-scale projects, or by testi

The Urban Fabric Initiatives Network

The Urban Fabric Initiatives together form an international community of practitioners, which is facilitated by the Urban Fabric Initiatives Network. This network encourages and facilitates the sharing of experience, knowledge, skills and tools to enrich the professional practices of each member and help identify models that can be replicated in new territories.

Funded by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) until 2026, the Urban Fabric Initiatives Network is run by a consortium of three organizations: GRET, UrbaMonde and Cabanon Vertical.

Le réseau des pépinières urbaines
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