Urbani izziv Volume 29, No. 1, June 2018
Marseilles School of Architecture, Marseille, France
Social housing in a suburban context:
A bearer of peri-urban diversity?
In recent years, French urban policies have demanded reflection on the possible relations and intersections between two emblematic, and almost antithetical, forms of housing: collective social housing and suburban single- family housing. There are two main laws in place that encourage opposite dynamics in the housing market: on the one hand, the Solidarity and Urban Renovation Act adopted in 2000 promotes social housing construction, obliging municipalities to achieve a certain quota. On the other hand, the Housing and Renewed Urbanism Act adopted in 2014 facilitates private housing production to limit urban sprawl through suburban densification. These opposite planning approaches leave local governments responsible for enforcing complicated policies of questionable feasibility. This article presents the main social and political concepts used in France today to promote social housing: the right to housing and, most importantly for suburbs, the social diversity of neighbourhoods. Subsequently, the relevance of social diversity for the suburbs is discussed. Certain social housing projects that have been successfully implemented in suburban neighbourhoods are examined. Finally, this article opens a discussion on possible methods for resolving the opposition between the dynamics of social housing construction and private housing densification processes in the suburbs.
urban policies, social housing, social diversity, suburbs, single-family housing