Stasis and change: re-imagining French high-rise neighbourhoods

Authors: Roza Tchoukaleyska*,
Topics: Urban Geography, Social Geography
Keywords: suburban neighbourhood, redevelopment, France, high-rise
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Studio 8, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper will consider the meaning of high-rise neighbourhoods in France in a moment of rapid (sub)urban change. Suburban social housing high-rise districts have a well-established history in France, one often associated with political marginalization, insecurity, and social exclusion. Such neighbourhoods are often the recipients of state redevelopment programs, which seek to address social and economic conditions by altering the physical structure of high-rise districts. By demolishing the highest residential towers, redoing the outside cladding of buildings, and reconstructing roads and public spaces, redevelopment programs are frequently premised on the idea that social exclusion is in part the product of urban form. Yet, in other suburban city districts, new mid- and high-rise units are being constructed to meet a demand for private, owner-occupied housing. While clad in different materials, and surrounded by landscaped public spaces, these new privately owned units borrow much of the form and function of the social housing districts being disassembled through state interventions. Drawing on examples from Montpellier, France, this paper will examine this duality of meaning.

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