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Dans le lieu et dans le temps : pour une histoire environnementale des infrastructures touristiques des Alpes franco-italiennes (1945-1975)

Abstract : The thesis studies ski resorts planned and built at high altitude after the Second World War in the Franco-Italian Alps.The two national contexts, different for economic history, politics and geographical location, now share similar problems, which look to the future of a tourism model based on mass attendance, long stays and an offer concentrated around skiing. Indeed, climatic hazards, changes in the modes and times of tourist use, ageing of structures and infrastructures, are only some of the challenges which these places are facing today. Several researchers from various disciplines then suggested that the station could be rethought in continuity with the territory, the latter included in its economic, geographical or administrative nature.The research aims at investigating these questions in the field of architecture and through a historical study. By questioning the relationships established between the station and the territory (in its spatial, environmental and landscape components) during the design, construction and evolution process, the wish is to go beyond a reading of high mountain tourist establishments as decontextualized objects.Working on the spatial coordinate of the territory, we formulate the hypothesis that the establishment of winter sports resorts has led to large-scale transformations, and that, at the same time, the environmental, historical, economic and geomorphological characteristics of the sites concerned have played an active role in the design and construction process.Working on the temporal coordinate of the territory, we assume that the history of the winter sports resorts built in the 1960s and 1970s is only one step in the long process of transforming high-altitude sites for tourism. In this perspective, the history of activities preceding tourism, located in the same places, plays a decisive role.We rely on a method developed by environmental historians such as William Cronon, who considers the history of a territory as the result of interactions between human actions and natural data over a long period of time. The work is carried out through the study of four cases: Pila and Sansicario, in the Italian Alps; Chamrousse and La Plagne in the French Alps. We mobilize a corpus mainly constituted by documents belonging to different archival collections (local authorities, architects and urban planners, technicians), which we process by analyzing textual, graphic and cartographic documents, as well as by re-drawing and constructing chronosystem systemic timelines.In addition to give a contribution to the understanding of the history of tourism development in high mountain areas, we hope, through this work, to contribute to the debate on the methodological issues of research in the history of architecture.
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Caterina Franco. Dans le lieu et dans le temps : pour une histoire environnementale des infrastructures touristiques des Alpes franco-italiennes (1945-1975). Art et histoire de l'art. Université Grenoble Alpes; Politecnico di Milano, 2019. Français. ⟨NNT : 2019GREAH022⟩. ⟨tel-02905488⟩

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