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FAIRE 2020

Black spots, recurring irregularities in cleanliness

Milena Charbit, Olivier Charlec, and 127af

  Programmes aiming to resolve urban misuse through the upgrading of micro-plots

Programmes aiming to resolve urban misuse through the upgrading of micro-plots


“Garbage collectors draw and map the city just as urban planners and architects do, conducting what is called ‘black spot mapping’. More formally known in France as ‘recurring irregularities in cleanliness’, these ‘black spots’ are are places where illegal littering is happening on a daily basis. These places have particular architectural properties: they are dead ends, recesses, interstices, salient angles, and other indeterminate ‘leftovers of land’. The experience of garbage collectors, who tirelessly roam the city, following the same streets day after day until they knows every nook and cranny by heart, allows us to understand the city from beneath. In other words, by following their approach, we end up perceiving all kinds of urban crevices and irregularities.

As part of the FAIRE call for projects, we wish to assemble a guide to these recurring anomalies by going to each of the spots that have previously been identified by the garbage collectors, and draw precise plans and elevations, then recording their stories and compiling their uses through the testimony of the garbage collectors, ultimately establishing a classification, a diagnosis of these spaces that are currently undetermined. ‘Crumbs of land’ will thus be revealed by this new mapping through the lens of waste and the eyes of those who roam the city on a daily basis.

In tandem with the preparation of the guide, our research will allow us to select a certain number of particularly remarkable micro-plots for which we will conduct a property search, though it seems that most of them belong to the City of Paris. The plots could be then sold off or concessioned in order to for microarchitectures that address direct needs of the neighbourhood in which they are located to be inserted.”

Milena Charbit, architect

Olivier Charlec, waste collector

127af, architecture and design studio


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