Commissioned by
  • the town of Marseille
  • region PACA
  • Fondation de France
  • Cabanon Vertical

The Gecko #1 and #2 projects were commissioned as part of France’s “Politique de la Ville” urban renewal policy, initiated in conjunction with the redevelopment of the Bellevue / Saint Mauront district in Marseille.

With a view toward promoting change and renewal in the district, Cabanon Vertical established a participatory initiative for residents that aimed to improve public space. People in the neighbourhood were asked to take part in a shared assessment to ensure that their views on the area and their vision for public space would be incorporated into future development projects.

In preparation for the project, the group of young participants thought about the needs of the neighbourhood in terms of types of amenities. They imagined a place that could be used for a specific function. Cabanon Vertical worked with the group on a concept and design for a street gym. Then a dialogue was opened to gain different perspectives on the potential use of public space. This provided more input to the initial approach, which had focused on a single use, and resulted in a space that could fulfil various needs and ways of spending time outside: sport, taking a break, sitting down, talking, observation, meeting others, etc.

Those who took part in designing the space also helped build it, via an educational workshop held in partnership with the association Adap 13. The builders at Cabanon Vertical provided the advanced construction set-up that enabled the youths and counsellors from the association to build the structure in a short amount of time, enabling residents to see the project take shape and approach completion. Cabanon Vertical partnered with local social organisations to hold an event to mark the end of construction, which was a shared moment for the community and began the process of appropriating – or re-appropriating – the public space.

The dialogue between the group of young residents and Cabanon Vertical led to the creation of a multi-use, sculptural structure, a place for having fun, looking at the surroundings and meeting others.  

Non recherche-action plateforme socialdesign
Cadre budgétaire
  • 95 600 €
  • (for the 2 Geckos)
Project duration
  • march 2015
  • Cité bellevue, Marseille, France