Le Grand Puzzle: MVRDV and The Why Factory present an urban study of Marseille as part of Manifesta 13

Le Grand Puzzle

MVRDV and The Why Factory (Delft University of Technology) proudly present Le Grand Puzzle, a study with ambitious ideas for Marseille. The book is the result of intensive research – made from 2018 to the start of 2020 – by an international team of architects and urbanists from MVRDV and The Why Factory (Delft University of Technology), in collaboration with Manifesta 13 and representatives of both Marseille institutions and universities. Le Grand Puzzle proposes a methodology, an agenda, and an analysis to portray today’s Marseille and can be perceived as a ‘manifesto’ for the city.

Le Grand Puzzle was commissioned as the foundational base of Manifesta 13 Marseille, as an alternative model of creative mediation that serves both as a blueprint for Marseille to plan its future and as a research framework to ensure that Manifesta 13 has a long-lasting impact on the city and its citizens to come. It started by extracting a theoretical framework by means of a list of “wishes” for the future city from the global, European, and local agendas.

Marseille is seen from various perspectives: the research study contains interviews with myriad stakeholders, extensive cartography of the city based on comparisons with other European (port) cities, and a deluge of urban interventions and fantasies imagined by students of art, architecture and urbanism – the next generation who will run the cities. These fantasies, when built, could be a true urban catalyst for – and a manifestation of – a post COVID-19 city.

Through the immediate housing crisis in Marseille in November 2019, Le Grand Puzzle called for an alternative intervention as an immediate motivation for the development of a new programme called Le Tour de Tous les Possibles, an experiment of alternative forms of civil participation. The project, which is still running throughout and as part of the biennial programme of 2020, brings together citizens from across Marseille, connecting diverse groups of participants from different social and cultural backgrounds and generations, such as activists and representatives of civil society.

The main ambition of Le Tour de Tous les Possibles, as part of the legacy of Manifesta 13, is to investigate collaborative methods of work to create new alliances and experiment with alternative models of co-existence, while exploring the potential challenges of Marseille’s communal future. These 22 workshops held in the pre-biennial period will continue with 10 workshops to come, hopefully leading to the founding of a real functioning Citizen Council called Assemblée de Tous les Possibles, where 101 Citizens are selected by luck of the draw to advise the Mayor of Marseille and the City Council of Marseille.

Le Grand Puzzle will be launched Saturday August 29 11.00 am with a panel discussion led by local city maker Tarik Ghezali, with the participation of Winy Maas, Marseille’s new mayor Michèle Rubirola, the deputy to the Mayor for Culture Jean-Marc Coppola, Manifesta’s Founder and Director Hedwig Fijen, alongside other urban specialists. The panel discussion will be live streamed. Source and images Courtesy of MVRDV.

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