To start our day of site visits, the 18 participants were split into two groups. One visited la Condition Publique, a “cultural fabric” based in Roubaix while the other was welcomed by La Maillerie in Villeneuve d’Ascq. After a couple hours, it was time to go back to Lille for our visit of TAST’In Fives, the primary reason for this trip. This project was of interest to us for several reasons: its similarities (a brownfield close to the city center), its differences (it was approved two years prior), its objectives (social inclusion and fight against urban poverty) and its field of action (food ecosystem). As part of Home Silk Road, we will be opening a community restaurant in 2020. It seemed particularly relevant to share best practices with a project using food as a way to generate economic activities while making sure the existing population can benefit directly from the new activities.
Northern France has an established reputation of being particularly welcoming. It was confirmed to us as soon as we arrived at the Fives Cail brownfield, site of TAST’In Fives. The city of Lille and the project partners had prepared an engaging and lively afternoon. We arrived on site at noon, just in time for our lunch activities. It started with a speed dating where everyone could share best practices and learn more about the various activities. After this initial introduction, it was time for the participants to get their hands dirty with a pizza making workshop. Under the supervision of a mobile pizzaiolo working with a converted bike, everyone put an apron on and learned about the art of creating pizzas. Once we were fed, very early afternoon was devoted to thematic meetings between groupings of partners. We visited their urban greenhouse, we asked a lot of questions and we made sure to exchange our contact information.
After this reinvigorating lunch break, our UIA expert joined us for the guided tour done by the site developer. We learned about the rich history of the site, what already exists and what is to come. The UIA part of the project is almost over but the life of the “Halle Gourmande” is just starting. After this comprehensive tour, we met again for the last part of the visit: formal presentation of the two projects. It started with the presentation of TAST’In Fives and led to many questions from the partners, such as: how do you ensure economic durability? How can you guarantee community engagement? How did you manage unexpected events? To finish these presentations, we presented Home Silk Road main objectives. Because we recently celebrated the first anniversary of the project and of the temporary occupation of the heritage building, we made a focus on that particular aspect. To wrap up, we presented the activities to come for 2020: modular housing, community restaurant, inclusion activities. They represent many challenges but having the feedback and experience of another UIA project is an incredible resource.
After a quick metro ride, the Home Silk Road delegation gathered at Lille Europe for a last debrief before heading back to Lyon. The visit gave us many leads for the implementation of our project activities and we would like to thank again the city of Lille and the TAST’In Fives project for their warm welcome and their excellent ideas to facilitate a site visit.