USAGES Shanghai – Paris – Bombay

French Touch Editions

Public space is the city at eye level, where we can get a measure of the different things people do with urban space. After the radical initiatives of the modern movement, which separated the functions of the city by creating a hierarchy to free up groundspace, hygienism and safety concerns have emptied the streets of most of their former uses, where life took hold in what was not so much public space as common space.

Made ordinary and safe, the western city is destined to lose its sense of adventure and the unexpected. Is it possible to escape from the safe, risk-free, emotionless city? The present work is an observation. It presents a subjective and factual selection of ways public space is used in three major world cities.

Read more: USAGES Shanghai – Paris – Bombay

Based on long walks in various neighbourhoods taking thousands of photographs, we have redrawn a selection of street scenes. Drawing is an effective way of spatially and hierarchically organising interpretations of urban use. This book is a compilation of three studies carried out between March 2010 and April 2011. The Shanghai and Mumbai Observationswere carried out in the framework of our teaching programme with students of the École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture in Versailles and an international exchange programme in the two cities concerned. The Paris Observation, is a study commissioned by the Agence Parisienne D’Urbanisme as part of its research on public space.


Édition and production
Les Éditions de la French Touch

Release on 23th of december 2011

Conception and direction
David Trottin and Jean-Christophe Masson

Graphic design
Franck Tallon