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Accéder aux rives des lacs périalpins : un droit aux espaces publics au défi de la privatisation (Annecy, Bourget, Léman, Côme)

Abstract : The present thesis focuses on the following tension: while periapline lakes are very attractive for recreation and fuel a high social demand, their shores are not freely accessible due to privatisation and other types of access restrictions. Therefore, this study examines the right of access to these lakes that society regards as public spaces, and proposes the notion of “right to the lake”, inspired by Lefebvre’s concept of “right to the city”. To do so, lakeshores are analyzed as public spaces, in the material sense of freely accessible spaces, and their access as a public problem, defined as an issue discussed in public arenas. In this conceptual framework, we aim to investigate the causes, forms and consequences of the double process of publicisation/privatisation, on three main study sites (lake Annecy, lake Bourget, lake Geneva within both its French and Swiss context), enhanced by an exploratory comparison with lake Como (Italy). Four guidelines structure the reflection. The first one draws up an inventory of access to lakeshores through the exhaustive mapping of the three main study sites’ shoreline. It shows the extent of access restrictions, their typological diversity and some disconnections between field-observed access conditions and cadastral status. The second one reconstitutes both the historical process of privatisation and the political agenda-building of the lakeshores issue. Relying on semi-structured interviews, archives analyses and a grey literature review, it shows that privatisation was historically much more efficient than the competing process of publicisation, due to the financial, political and legal capital of privatization operators. The third one focuses on the social mobilizations demanding the “right to the lake” since the beginning of the 2000s, in France and in Switzerland, and analyzes the public problem they contribute to build and the oppositions they face. The fourth one aims at gathering material about the practices and perceptions of lakes users, thanks to observations and structured interviews. It highlights the users’ quest for peacefulness, as they spend time along the lake. We interpret this search as a pursuit of the “lake for oneself”, a concept competing with the “lake for all” as claimed by mobilized groups and by shore publicisation policies. This integrated analysis of the public space and the public problem of lakeshores finally challenges the way space is shared within society, and particularly the spaces that are socially most valorised, due to their landscape and recreation amenities.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, January 19, 2022 - 5:13:13 PM
Last modification on : Friday, March 25, 2022 - 9:43:02 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Wednesday, April 20, 2022 - 7:15:00 PM


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  • HAL Id : tel-03535675, version 1



Alice Nikolli. Accéder aux rives des lacs périalpins : un droit aux espaces publics au défi de la privatisation (Annecy, Bourget, Léman, Côme). Géographie. Université Grenoble Alpes, 2019. Français. ⟨NNT : 2019GREAA022⟩. ⟨tel-03535675⟩



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