But the project is also revealing of this transformation. Since it is based on the rationality of choices organised around a trilogy – geometry, statistics, and construction – the project becomes a reasoned tool for the transformation of the space.
In the field of civil engineering works and that of infrastructure, this articulation of the project is determining. It must allow the technocratic abstraction that large-scale territorial projects often involve to be avoided: a bridge is not merely a crossing; a road is not a strip of asphalt accommodating migratory movements. Here, the project must also find its coherency in the interpretation of the scales of the landscape, in the pathway of a historically informed geography. In this way, a bridge becomes a promenade overlooking a river, while a road becomes a tracking shot through the textures of the geography.
Yesterday, it was important to build for the masses, whereas today we build with the notion of displacement in mind: the value of time now overrides that of geography. Saving time seems to mean losing the relationship with the terrain or occupying an extraterritorial position: a kind of dematerialisation is at work.
In order to avoid the errors of the past, these major transformations must not be reduced to their technical values; we must recover the sensitive aspects of our perspective concerning the landscape, the constructed aspects of civil engineering works, and the cooperative aspects of a shared territory.
The notion of the city, like that of the territory, seems to abstract itself in mathematical imagery: chaos for some, temporal anamorphoses of geography for others, virtual networks for us all. But it is the sensitive attention paid to the locations, the quality of the light, the pleasures of gravitas and of the materials used that can ensure the generosity of the shared space.