Scientific hikes to invent descriptives methods for spaces bordering great infrastructures
The goal of En Piste Project is to organize three « scientific hikes », with researchers came from multiple disciplines (16 persons, naturalists, ecologists, association members, engineers, sociologists, artists, landscape architects, urban planners…) in order to invent descriptives methods for spaces bordering great infrastructures. Indeed, the usual methods of spatial, social and ecological analysis fail to describe such places. For this, the hikes will follow a track wich appears along Lille Eurometropolis’ infrastructures. En piste project would like to show through those hikes the biological and urban connective potential of this track.
The research faces four main problems in order to invent a complete descriptive method :
- Scale problem : Infrastructures’ length makes some survey methods ineffectives. A method adapted to a linear and continuous survey of verges and slopes, thought at the complete infrastructure’ scale, should be substitute to more classical methods, focusing on little squares and very located grounds.
- Field problem : Each researcher use to size the site’s limits and to select those of its aspects and materials he will analyze according to his own scientific methods. This makes the superimposition of the different results ineffective. At the contrary, each researcher should work in the very same site, in order that a collective method could result from a progressive adjustment, based on a simple and unique procedure.
- Externality problem : Infrastructures’ borders are anthropic ecosystems which can’t be analyzed in reference to external situations. To which ecological matrix, to which social environment could we compare the ordinary biodiversity of these wide open landscapes, or the marginal, and often illegal social practices which take place there ? At the opposite, infrastructural environment could be described as self referent. From this point of view, scientific investigations should be guided by the site’s own shapes and patterns, following pathes, stopping in clearings, going along fences, crossing them where they are pierced.
- Trophic problem : Spaces’ shapes result here from the way they are maintained, and such spaces’ maintenance proceeds by very simple, radical and often brutal actions. A static approach of such places is useless because its own object is always changing. For this reason, the description shouldn’t aim to record their present state, but a prospective anticipation of successive potential states.
The three scientific hikes will last three days each. They will include times for walking and surveying, others for synthesis and for method discusion, and finally for the methods’ adjustment along the track. The research permits the protocol’s progressive adjustment, in order to reach a transposable method for other places of such kind.