The recently-formed urban community of Greater Toulouse (CUGT), a driver for large-scale urban projects, chose Agence Ter and its team in 2010 to develop a masterplan for the Garonne and its canals, the future north-south artery that Toulouse currently lacks.

After observing the absence of an urban park or major natural park in the Toulouse agglomeration, Agence Ter proposed the creation of the Grand Parc Garonne. This major fluvial and natural artery, whose potential has so far been little exploited, is the ideal vector for the creation of a large federating and unifying park on the scale of the entire agglomeration.  By giving a central role to the Garonne and its landscapes in the enhancement of the quality of local life, the project reclaims a neglected part of Toulouse’s identity.

Three structuring principles have been developed to design the Grand Parc Garonne masterplan. The first is to strengthen the landscape and environmental context to capitalize on little-known but real assets. The second aims to even out inequalities using sustainable transportation networks. This means facilitating access to the park and removing discontinuities along the entire length of the park. It is embodied by the creation of the “Via Garona”, a pedestrian and cycling artery 32 kilometers in length, itself served by a diversified secondary network (paths, sports circuits, navigation courses…). Agence Ter decided to emphasize the entrance to the park through the “Garonne Gates”, which play the role of multimodal platforms offering services.  The third principle aims to develop attractions along the entire length of the river to provide cultural and activity areas as a complement to Greater Toulouse’s cultural offering.

These three structuring principles emphasize that the Garonne is not simply a green strip across the city but rather a major urban park that stretches over 3,000 ha from north to south. This great park, far from being uniform, will see its diversity reinforced, unlike other major historical parks that offer a single aesthetic approach (Central Park, Bois de Vincennes…). It comprises varied landscapes and constitutes a national- and European-scale migration corridor that must be fostered. The different landscape sequences are embellished through the creation of several successive “parks”.

Half-wild, half-tamed, the landscape of the fluvial natural park extends over 2,200 ha and is structured around outdoor leisure activities. The Garonne and its “Grand Parc” will thus allow the population of the 37 towns of Greater Toulouse to discover and understand them in all their continuity and diversity.

  • Program / Project: TOULOUSE / The Grand Parc Garonne
  • Client: Communauté d’Agglomération du Grand Toulouse
  • Project management: Agence Ter Landscape Urbanists (Lead consultant), De Hoym de Marien Architectes, BIC FL, Arcadis, ISL
  • Budget: 1M €
  • Area: 3000 ha
  • Date: 2010-2012
  • Location: Toulouse, France

TOULOUSE / The Grand Parc Garonne