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Michael’s South of France Sabbatical
15 April, 2018

Michael’s South of France Sabbatical

As a firm that works on urban design, we are constantly looking in every corner of the globe’s public spaces for inspiration. This spring, Michael took a brief trip to the Occitanie region of the French Catalans in search of just that.

Pockets of “food deserts”, where it is difficult to buy affordable or fresh food, are found in more and more urban neighborhoods. Michael ventured to the south of France to see how public spaces are programmed and found that in this particular region of France, open public spaces are programmed for different uses throughout the day. In the morning, they are used for open-air markets where fresh food and other goods are sold. At midday, the markets close up, and the spaces are used for community needs, for example, school gatherings and play. In the evening, the same spaces are used for outdoor dining by local restaurants.

“We need to reevaluate how our public spaces are programmed in our cities,” said Michael. “We can learn a great deal from other parts of the world.”