Cool Idea: Lausanne Jardins, Explore Urban Green Spaces

The picturesque city of Lausanne is renowned for its stunning views of Lake Geneva and the Alps. It is also known for its innovative urban green spaces. One such groundbreaking initiative is the Lausanne Jardins project. This is a transformative urban gardening and landscape architecture project that reimagines public spaces within the city.


Lausanne Jardins La rivière augmentée ©Michael Hartwell Lausanne



Origins and Concept


Lausanne Jardins was first launched in 1997. Since then, it has evolved into a recurring event! Regularly, it showcases the potential of integrating gardens and green spaces into urban environments. The project was conceived as a way to explore and demonstrate how neglected or underutilised urban areas could be revitalised. The means to achieve that: creative landscape design and community involvement.

The core idea behind Lausanne Jardins is to temporarily transform various locations throughout the city. Thematic gardens, each designed by different landscape architects, artists, and designers. These installations simultaneously beautify the city and serve to raise awareness about sustainable urban development. A stark reminder of the importance of green spaces in enhancing our quality of life.


Key Features


Thematic Gardens:


Each edition of Lausanne Jardins features a unique theme that guides the design of the gardens. Past themes have included “Under the Ground,” “The Green and the City,” and “Open Ground.” These themes inspire designers to create installations that provoke thought and engage the public in dialogue about urban nature and sustainability.


Temporary Transformations:


The gardens are temporary, usually lasting from late spring to early autumn. This ephemeral nature encourages designers to think creatively about how to maximize impact within a limited timeframe, using sustainable materials and practices.


Diverse Locations:


Gardens are strategically placed in a variety of urban settings, from busy streets and plazas to quiet, hidden corners. This diversity highlights the potential for green spaces to be integrated into all types of urban environments, regardless of their size or current use.


Community Engagement:


Lausanne Jardins actively involves the local community, inviting residents to participate in the creation and maintenance of the gardens. Workshops, guided tours, and educational programs are often organized to engage the public and foster a deeper connection with urban nature.


Lausanne Jardins La rivière augmentée ©Michael Hartwell



Impact on the City


Lausanne Jardins has had a significant impact on both the physical landscape and the social fabric of Lausanne. The project has demonstrated how urban gardening can transform spaces, making them more inviting, vibrant, and conducive to community interaction. By temporarily reimagining urban areas, Lausanne Jardins encourages citizens to see their city in a new light and to appreciate the value of green spaces.

Moreover, the project has influenced urban planning and policy in Lausanne, serving as a model for other cities looking to integrate green spaces into their urban environments. The success of Lausanne Jardins has shown that even temporary gardens can have lasting effects, inspiring permanent changes and improvements in urban design.


Notable Installations


Several installations from past editions of Lausanne Jardins have left a lasting impression on visitors and residents alike:

Underground Gardens: In the 2004 edition themed “Under the Ground,” designers created subterranean gardens that explored the unseen layers of the city. These installations used light and plant life to transform dark, hidden spaces into areas of beauty and contemplation.

Vertical Gardens: The 2009 edition saw the introduction of vertical gardens, which utilized walls and building facades to create lush, green surfaces in densely built areas. These gardens highlighted innovative ways to incorporate greenery into limited urban spaces.

Interactive Spaces: In 2019, interactive installations invited visitors to engage with the gardens in new ways. One notable project allowed people to walk through a maze of plants, fostering a sense of exploration and discovery within the urban environment.




Future Prospects


As urbanisation continues to accelerate, projects like Lausanne Jardins are more important than ever. They remind us of the vital role that green spaces play in urban life. Such initiatives provide aesthetic and recreational benefits. Moreover, they provide crucial environmental services such as air purification, temperature regulation, and biodiversity support.

Lausanne Jardins continues to inspire urban planners, designers, and residents to think creatively about the future of their cities. By demonstrating the potential for temporary transformations to effect lasting change, it paves the way for a greener, more sustainable urban future.



Lausanne Jardins stands as a testament to the power of innovative landscape architecture. It also highlights the importance of community engagement in transforming urban spaces. Its thematic gardens and temporary installations fosters a deeper appreciation for the natural world within the city. That enriches the lives of residents and sets a benchmark for urban green space initiatives worldwide.