Toulouse without a car, Victor Hugo vegetated … He publishes a futuristic scenario that will make people react

In its “design fiction” about the development of Toulouse, the Perspecteurs studio imagined the transformation of the Victor-Hugo car park into a cultural center and a hyper-greening of public space. (© Perspectives)

“Since 2032, the city of Toulouse has banned cars on the streets. In less than a decade, this municipality with more than half a million inhabitants has been transformed.” No, this is not an article written by Marty McFly after a trip to the future in a DeLorean. This is the starting point for a somewhat special publication published by the Perspecteurs studio, a collective specializing in design fiction.

Exercise of design fiction

“We build perspectives that project the reader out of the present, into a story that engages them emotionally. The ambition is to stimulate innovation, to propose new ideas, to bring a new perspective on the topics, whether they are environmental, social, cultural, political, scientific or technological.We want to provide a better understanding of current and future issues to promote debate on various social issues.We want to explore the future to question the present and build ‘the future’.

The Perspectors study

“Break with distrust of change”

Behind this project hides Toulouses Alexandre Luzarreta, resident in Pink City and holds a master’s degree in design innovation for architecture. “Design fiction intends to break with mistrust and disbelief in the face of change. The goal is to get out of the current controversies and lack of movement. Design fiction is a relevant tool for debate ”, explains the young man on Toulouse news.

Toulouse, “a city that has banned cars”

Far from Gorafi, Perspecteurs pushes the futuristic plug very far, but always in favor of future trends in France. Ecology is part of it, and Toulousain has, via the format of an article and an interview, looked at the development of the car’s space in the city of Pink City. Its title is catchy and deliberately disturbing: “June 10, 2041: Toulouse, a city that has banned cars”.

Interview with Iris, a fictional mayor

The story is imbued with “I” with a virtual meeting in the company ofIris Turms, “mayor since 2026. She and her team are behind the transformation of the city”, writes the contributor to Perspecteurs. He simulated the interview with this fictional elected official to project a hyperfuturistic and ecological vision of the pink city. And the result of this brainstorming and of these, “plausible futures” are striking.

Map of cycling and walking times

By 2041, Toulouse is full of maps of the city showing travel times by bike and on foot. Soft conditions, which from 2032 have become the norm in 4e city ​​in France. Iris Turms explains her vision and ideology in this parallel universe interview:

“We have not banned the car in the city streets, we have only limited its use to what is strictly necessary. The petrol and diesel-powered car is one of the first causes of air pollution in the private car also takes up a lot of space in the city – for less than one hour of use per day, the 12 m floor area takes up 23/24 hours.We need this surface to facilitate the circulation of pedestrians, bicycles, buses and trams, but also to plant trees and bring biodiversity and freshness in the hot summers that we are increasingly experiencing. By reducing the space occupied by cars in the city, we wanted to give the space back to the inhabitants. To take space back, which the car has monopolized, we have, among other things , reduced by four the number of public parking spaces over 15 years on 700,000 m² of land, which was reclaimed in car e, the equivalent of almost 100 football pitches! “.

Iris Turms, fictional mayor of Toulouse since 2026
Rue du faubourg Bonnefoy transformed between 2020 and 2040.
Rue du faubourg Bonnefoy transformed between 2020 and 2040. (© Perspectives)

Moreover, small arteries in the city center have been closed to car traffic to turn them into pedestrian streets. “Cars are only allowed there in extraordinary situations: emergency access, relocation, access for the disabled …”, continues this futuristic mayor of Toulouse.

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Regulated car use

In 2032, car use is strictly regulated.

“The car has been banned for journeys that can be made in less than 30 minutes (45 minutes for the municipalities of Greater Toulouse) by public transport (and with a maximum of two shifts) (10) or in less than 15 minutes on foot or by bicycle. Of course, this restriction did not apply to people with medical problems, professionals as well as large families or under an extraordinary situation such as relocation “.

Iris TurmsFictional mayor of Toulouse since 2026

Video verbalization in the service of ecology

Requests for dispensation are possible, but the municipality of Toulouse is gradually tightening the loop by creating in 2034, a control system. To make a city trip, go to the application created by the City or to the website. You must register your number plate and state the reasons for using the car. The city has many cameras that are capable of reading license plates and detecting scams. In short, the video verbalization launched by former Mayor LR Jean-Luc Moudenc in 2016 is expanding its powers in ecology.

The change in philosophy materialized by the transformation of Faubourg Bonnefoy. In 2040, the penetration of the penetrating car drastically narrowed by creating wider sidewalks on both sides, by merging the single lane for buses and cars, and by creating two dedicated central lanes for bicycles.

In communication, the package is set to increase awareness of public transport, bus travel rather than solo driving. Initiatives abound such as the multiplication of car-free days and free public transport days.

Call for projects “Rethinking urban space”

From 2028, ecology is at the heart of everything with the launch, by the Capitol, of the call for projects “Rethinking urban space”, with contributions to be submitted on the changeonstoulouse.fr website.

Among the proposals, the future joins the present, especially on “street libraries” (the current boxes to read would they really only be the beginning?) and ” of bread / cake machines ”, which is beginning to spread, especially at Saint-Agne station. Another concept mentioned in 2041, but which we had already begun to see emerge in 2020: access to daily services in less than a quarter of an hour on foot from home.

In his
In its “design fiction” about the development of Toulouse, the Perspecteurs studio imagined the transformation of the Victor Hugo car park into a cultural center and a hyper-greening of public space. (© Perspectives)

Arnaud-Bernard endive, vegetalized Victor Hugo …

Certain places or emblematic districts of the city have also been transformed in a matter of a few years. The use of underground car parks and silos, which are accused of providing too many places for thermal vehicles, has been redesigned. Below by Arnaud Bernard, mushrooms and endives are grown, for example ! Victor Hugo car park, has become a third place dedicated to art of all kinds, and the eponymous space has been constantly planted to make the walk comfortable and protect against heat waves. “The layout could make it possible to take advantage of, for example, its stunning views. But this parking lot in this place is sad, ”said Alexandre Luzarreta.

Virtual meetings

Finally, the virtual report from the Perspecteurs study makes the inhabitants of Toulouse (also virtual, although the purpose of the publication is to identify with at least one of them) inquire about this radical development of the city. We meet Sophie, 78, with her electric tricycle, Akio, who sees the difference since the limitations of the car’s location, Pierre, happy with the widening of the sidewalks and Naël, a pensioner who believes that air quality has improved and there is a marked decrease in the sound of horns.

A political publication?

Are the prism of the publication and the topics covered necessarily politically oriented?

“There is necessarily politics, but that is neither the purpose nor the subject. I trust my sensitivity to provoke the debate, but I am not here to say what is good or not.”

Alexandre LuzarretaThe creator of viewers

Does this perspective scenario, “in the form of disagreement”, appeal to you? Fear? Is it realistic or utopian? Desirable or not? It is up to you to judge.

All details about the release of Perspecteurs can be found at this link.

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