The 'Park of Rivers' is a territory of 4,700 hectares of natural, agricultural and urban environments on the left bank of the Garonne River at the northern edge of the city of Bordeaux. It is characterised by rivers, wetlands, lagoons, gravel pits, forests, with channel-irrigated market gardens, pasture for cattle, and hunting.
It is very much a park in the making, and the challenge has been to create a coherent landscape and park experience connecting the natural and cultural environments.
This work has been given to a consortium of landscape architects, architects, ecologists and agricultural and hydrological engineers working with eight partnering municipalities, with Bordeaux Metropole playing an initiating, funding role in addition to the cities. The landscape framework seeks to intensify the fringes and borders to define the park with a number of entrances ('doors'); create a circulation, signage and furniture system traversing natural and built sites of interest in themed projects ('houses') and historical movement; and connecting ecology.
Staged over a number of years and part of a plan for expanded green space, development will be prioritised by interest, feasibility, clarity and budget and will include harmonising a number of existing projects. Some of the key features are to preserve the green and blue frame, make the park more ecologically coherent, and develop a cultural sense of belonging. An example of one of the initial 'doors’ under construction is the €2,000,000 ‘la vacherie’ – beautiful agricultural buildings to produce milk, cheese and yoghurt and for school projects.