The Handbook

Manuel de formation

20 x 26 cm, 60 p.

Participants may keep the handbook after the course. It cannot be sold.

Le manuel Villes terrestres articule tous les aspects de l’écologie urbaine pour se projeter dans des territoires urbains plus vivants, plus autonomes et plus apaisés.
Avec ses cinq piliers, la formation Villes terrestres offre aussi une grille d’évaluation pour distinguer les projets qui relèvent du green washing de ceux qui changent la donne.
Un manuel qui fonctionne aussi comme un outil d’aide à la décision.

Browse the online handbook

Energy descent (noun)
A process through which a society voluntarily or involuntarily reduces its total energy consumption.

Our Proposition:
Energy descent implies structural changes to cities and their infrastructure. It is also a cultural revolution in the sense that it can bring about a change in our way of life.

Doing without something harmful should not be thought of as deprivation but as a form of healing—for cities and everyone who dwells in them. The issue is one of ecological health, or the health of the Earth, including human health.

When properly implemented, energy descent is an opportunity to repair the social and ecological fabric of a place.

How can we transform modern cities into terrestrial ones, without making a clean sweep, but by working with what is already here?

The 5 pillars of terrestrial cities

We propose working toward an energy descent via five points of focus, each of which is a direct response to dysfunctions within modern cities.


Circulating water and living beings

Modern cities can be characterized as a series of fragmentations—vertical (between neighborhoods) and horizontal (between earth and sky)—which turn areas into sterile and mineral landscapes.

/!\ Can we imagine a city that fosters life? What would that take?


Toward a healthful and local food supply

In the modern, voracious city, most of the food is imported, with a food autonomy of only a few days. Everything is designed to conceal the fact that cities are first and foremost a collection of citizens—or thousands of bodies with daily needs.

/!\ How can we reconnect cities to the land and turn them into places conducive to farming? 


Co-Habitating in Existing Buildings

The unfettered urban expansion of modern cities is coming to an end.

/!\ How can we best use existing buildings and infrastructure to create a virtuous relationship between buildings and their environment?


Local Production

The modern city is based on the myth of an emancipation from nature and the material dimension of existence. The physical consequence of this lie is enormous: The city takes resources from all over the world and produces only waste, disguising itself as a commodity.

/!\ Implementing a healthy urban economy puts the focus back on human trades, expertise, and work.


Invisible infrastructure

One meaning of the word urbanity is the courteous care for others. The city, as a society of human beings, is based first and foremost on the quality of the social interactions and ties that unite its inhabitants.

/!\ If care sustains the city like stilts sustain Venice, then the question that becomes crucial is how to strengthen and bring visibility to the web of connections that keeps us all afloat.
The Handbook

How can we make terrestrial cities emerge from the modern city, without starting again from scratch - but working from what already exists?