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À Nous les Toits!

A Nous les Toits: is a collective to create more “us” and a “right to the sky for all” in Marseille. 

While the potential use of roofs are numerous, the “fifth façade” remains under-utilised in Marseille. A Nous les Toits has the aim of promoting wider access for all and a more sustainable, social and creative use of roofs. For edible, sporty, creative, inhabited and inclusive roofs, but also to create links between roofs and initiatives and this way to create a new Marseille narrative for a right to the sky and more “us” on top of buildings. Between neighbours, colleagues, citizens. 

The collective “A Nous les Toits” is an unprecedented alliance between public and private players in the fields of culture, real estate, social innovation and ecological transition. Set up by a core team of Wetopia, Marseille Solutions, Euromed and La Fabrique du Nous. 

After meeting the organisers of the Rotterdam Rooftop Festival and participating in the 2022 edition, the A Nous les Toits collective organised the first Rooftop Day in Marseille on 2 July 2022. The aim: to give visibility to the multi-uses of roofs. In total 13 roofs, 8 districts and 2000 people participated and or benefited from this event.

From here, a roadmap with 3 objectives has been collectively defined for the coming years: 

A LAB to initiate action research to identify potential obstacles and develop tools to accompany and support initiatives on roof terraces;

The FEST to raise awareness of the public, institutions, owners and investors about the potential of rooftop housing through events that demonstrate the possibilities; 

The MED approach for Mediterranean dynamic, to make roofs a marker of Marseilles’ identity and a Mediterranean way of life and to sow seeds and set up concrete and sustainable projects in the Mediterranean cities from both shores. 

What is coming up? Rooftop Day #2 on 6 & 7 October 2023; Rooftop “Laboratory”; School/academy for “rooftoppers” ; Evaluation and mapping of the available/actionable surface on rooftops in Marseille; Cooperation in the Mediterranean.

Wetopia specifically works on the collaboration between L’Art Rue in Tunis and La Chaire (+ Master) Sociétés civiles, transitions urbaines et territoriales en Méditerranée Aix Marseille University in a action research mission on learning from the use of rooftops as political, social and economic places for women (and vulnerable groups) touching topics such as freedom, safety, cultural expression and gendered landscape.

Le droit au ciel. 

The use of roofs is a response to many social issues. 

First of all, there is the social issue of creating spaces where people can meet. Today, Marseille is the champion of closed residences with 1,500 “gated communities”. Broadening access to roofs and giving residents a “right to the sky” is a real lever for social cohesion. The challenge is also to allow inhabitants to reappropriate the city by proposing projects on the roofs, whether they are private, collective or public.

Secondly, the use of rooftops is a lever for the environmental issues to which the city of Marseille must respond. This issue covers many aspects, from the densification of the city to energy production and urban nature.

Using the space on the roofs is to some extent taking back the space that was used on the ground. This is part of the idea of rebuilding the city on itself instead of spreading it out and taking over natural and agricultural spaces. Constructing additional spaces on the roofs allows for the intensification of the uses of a building, by adding work spaces, gardens or even housing. Thus, investing in rooftops could be a way to fight against substandard housing in a city that has 40,000 substandard homes.

Marseille is the sunniest city in France, with an average of many days of sunshine per year. At the same time, 50,000 households in Marseille are in energy insecurity. So why not use the roofs to produce sustainable energy that benefits everyone?

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Wetopia interventions aim to create " us " between people who do not always know each other but share the same place or neighbourhood. Starting from the love for and thus the potential of that place, we work together on social challenges and challenging questions. 

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