THE RIVERSIDE ECO-DISTRICT OF L’ÎLE-SAINT-DENIS | Philippon-Kalt Architectes Urbanistes


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1,000 housing units / 1,000 jobs

Housing 90 000 m²
Offices 14 800 m²
Shops 6 400 m²
Workshops 8 200 m²
Equipments 23 600 m²
Activities 3 000 m²



Eco-district area : 22 ha

Bi-sites development zone area : 13 ha



A third of the developed surface area of L'Île-Saint-Denis is occupied by warehouses, many of which are no longer in use. This site covers 22 of the island’s 100 hectares.

Philippon-Kalt, architects and urban planners, led a team to propose reconverting this site into a riverside eco-district, and have been responsible for bringing their plans to fruition.

This area, which is currently under development and located less than 2km from Paris’s Saint-Denis station, is set to benefit from the “Grand Paris” initiative.

An in-depth reflection on water and biodiversity, energy, mobility and pollution was conducted in collaboration with specialist firms to ensure that the eco-district remains an example to follow over time.

In 2009, the project, led by Michel Bourgain, Mayor of Île-Saint-Denis, and by the authorities of the larger Plaine Commune area, was chosen as the prototype district at the NQU consultation (label Nouveaux Quartiers Urbains – New Urban Districts), and it received the Prize of the Future, National List of Eco-Districts 2011.
On 17 February 2013, the riverside eco-district charter was signed by all of the project’s partners.

The riverside eco-district:

a living space for everyone, planned and developed to promote social relationships, and to encourage sharing and saving resources.


 THE 3 I

The concepts developed for this new district are based on the three main issues of L'Île-Saint-Denis:


By creating north-south connections between the two residential districts on L'Île-Saint Denis.

Inter-commune links

By improving communications with neighbouring communes and involving the new district in the local development processes.


By respecting the principle of setting a good example in environmental matters and promoting water as a factor of identity for residents.



Development: participatory governance

A shared culture is created in collaboration with all of the project’s stakeholders. The Eco-District Charter, a document to ensure the commitment of the various partners, uses the same concepts as presented by the planners.

Throughout the project, an active debate is being maintained, by means of consultation meetings with residents: which services should be available in the mobility centres, plans for public spaces, rooms for communal use, etc.

Urban, environmental and social cohesion

The needs of all the entities involved are considered: VNF and Port autonome, RATP and STIF, ERDF, ANDRA, CG 93, the département, the city, the technical services of Plaine Commune local authorities, specialised design firms, etc. Preference is given to concepts that can be replicated in other areas.

Ambitions that are sustainable into the future

The specifications drawn up for the riverside eco-district consider the future of the district over time by including room for growth in line with changes in standards and technology, and with the development of the area.


Water, a significant part of the district’s identity, is shown off by landscaping which contributes to the comfort and quality of life of residents.

An educational trail on the theme of water illustrates the alternative, landscape-focused and recreational approach to using the resource

Recovery and reuse of rainwater to save on tap water.

Management of run-off water through landscaping to prevent discharge into drains.

Alternative management of waste water for experimental schemes such as floating housing.

Development of biotopes in ponds to reduce pollution.

Natural bathing space within the pioneering sustainable development, supplied by water from the Seine which is filtered by plants.

A protected ecosystem

The whole district overlooks the Seine. On the developed land, the riverbanks have been cleared, encouraging the development of riparian forest.

Viewpoints, riverside paths, floating jetties and attractive shorelines line the pathways which connect the various zones on the island and bring life to the riverbank.



Accessibility and car-free district

This choice is influenced by the desire to create a busy and lively district and encourage soft transport methods.

Within the long, narrow eco-district (150 m x 1500 m), vehicle access is limited to emergency services and specific needs.

Communication and transport points are placed every 300m on Quai du Chatelier, providing excellent links to the site. They act as coordination hubs for the eco-district, and incorporate the following services, on a ground floor level: delivery points, lockers, pigeonholes, bicycle spaces, carsharing meeting point, walking bus… There are also plenty of shared parking spaces available. Buildings are constructed upwards to help reduce the risks of flooding and impacted ground.

Soft transport modes preferred

In addition to the district’s internal soft transport network, a cycling path is planned for the longer shore.

Intermodal transport connections within the site

The planned bus and bicycle bridges will in the future offer direct access to the multimodal Arc Express hub on the Saint-Denis / Pleyel site.

Revitalising river transport

The idea of an inter-commune La Défense / Saint-Denis river shuttle is being examined.

Placing jetties on the shorter shore will encourage the development of shuttles on the Seine.



Transforming the site’s problems (electromagnetic, acoustic, atmospheric, pollution, risk of flooding) into positives  

A space bordered by high voltage electricity lines is transformed into a humid nature reserve, ensuring biotic continuity between the two banks.

The most polluted spots are neutralised using watertight basins which are home to fauna and flora from humid environments

Creation of acoustic protection on the A86 viaduct using photovoltaic panels  

The Ponkawall, an urban design proposed by Philippon-Kalt for the eco-district, acts as a noise reduction wall, produces renewable energy and, via its QR code, creates an interface for local interactive communication between all the district’s stakeholders. It is an idea that could be replicated on other sites throughout the country.


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    DEVELOPMENT ZONE1,000 housing units / 1,000 jobsHousing 90 000 m²Offices 14 800 m²Shops 6 400 m²Workshops 8 200 m²Equipments 23 600 m²Activities 3 000 m² SURFACESEco-district area : 22 haBi-sites development zone area : 13 ha THE URBAN CONCEPTA third of the developed surface area of L'Île-Saint-Denis is occupied by warehouses, many of which are no longer in use. This site covers 22 of the island’s 100 hectares.Philippon-Kalt, architects and urban planners, led a team to propose...

    Project details
    • Year 2022
    • Work started in 2012
    • Work finished in 2022
    • Client Plaine Commune / Ville de l'Ile Saint Denis
    • Cost 85 M€
    • Status Current works
    • Type Parks, Public Gardens / Adaptive reuse of industrial sites / Landscape/territorial planning / Urban Renewal
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