In the French overseas territories, a large proportion of the population, subject to various constraints, has settled in areas exposed to high risks, particularly coastal areas. The impacts of climate change, in particular the expected rise in sea level, will lead to an increasing need to relocate these populations. These needs must be anticipated as best as possible to avoid forced, disruptive and traumatic displacements, especially when they follow a natural disaster.
The need to renew housing design and production methods in the overseas territories and more particularly in the West Indies stems both from this challenge and from the priorities identified in the framework of the January 2019 overseas housing conference aimed at controlling costs and producing housing adapted to the expectations of the inhabitants.
In this context, the French Urban Planning, Construction and Architecture Plan (PUCA) has designed a new research and experimentation programme: "renewed housing operations in the overseas territories" with a twofold ambition:
- to reduce the ecological footprint of construction in the West Indies, particularly in a context of high energy dependence and the import of construction products,
- to facilitate, by developing an attractive relocation offer, in terms of price and quality of use, the relocation of populations living in areas exposed to major natural risks, particularly as a result of the retreat of the coastline.
This programme thus aims to encourage the emergence of new solutions adapted to the specific characteristics of the overseas territories, whether in terms of bio-sourced materials, resilient construction processes, energy sobriety or uses.
The town of Le Prêcheur, a small town on the Caribbean coast of Martinique particularly exposed to several major natural hazards, is the host area for the first session of this programme, which will be launched this summer. This collaboration is part of the continuation of the work undertaken by the town council and supported by the PUCA and the DEAL of Martinique around the spatial recomposition of the municipality in order to reduce the vunerability of the housing areas.
This session is divided into two parts:
- an ideas competition on the design of new housing programmed in the redevelopment sectors identified outside risk zones; the call for applications for the ideas competition will be launched in the summer.
- support for the effective implementation of the solutions developed by the winning teams within the framework of experimental protocols concluded with them and the project owners interested in these solutions.
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At the same time, all the projects developed as part of the ideas competition will be promoted nationally with the aim of building up a pool of professional skills around the purpose of the programme, sharing knowledge, publicising know-how and developing innovation.
The Urban Planning, Construction and Architecture Plan (PUCA) is an interministerial agency created in 1998 in order to advance knowledge about territories and cities and to inform public action. PUCA initiates incentive research, research-action and experimentation programmes and supports innovation and development in the fields of land use planning, urban planning, housing, architecture and construction. ]
An article by Emmanuelle Durandau, PUCA
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