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Daniel Behar, geographer: “We need to end urban politics”

LThe measures announced during the inter-ministerial committee on cities on October 27 sparked the expected controversy: are they a worthy response to the riots of June and July? Does it balance the emphasis on social issues? Previous security decisions or the priority that has long been given to the renovation of buildings within the framework of city policy?

Strangely, the terms of this debate ignore the original intentions of the promoters of this policy just forty years ago. It is necessary to re-read the 1983 founding report “Together, Remaking the City”, published in the 1970s by the iconic mayor of Grenoble, Hubert Dubud. This document does not advocate one issue or another (housing, education or urban renewal). for example) or on the mobilization of allocated resources. It sets forth a methodical policy.

Inspired by the Second Left Culture, Hubert Dubedu advocated what we would today call a change in the method of governance. He found that the challenges consisted in particular “Act on causes rather than effects”, “Population to become agents of change” and “Break down sectoral or categorical approaches to promote transversality and globality of action”.

In doing so, city policy initially rested on two legs: the “fixing” of distressed neighborhoods and the transformation of common law public policy—those measures in health care, economic development, education, and urban planning that applied indiscriminately. the whole area. These two approaches should interact structurally.

On the one hand, the logic of reparation was to turn social housing estates into a laboratory for the interrogation and transformation of the common law. These are the districts “Where the city of tomorrow was invented”, we hoped. On the other hand, the transformation of the common law policy should be an imperative condition to guarantee the repair and restoration of these areas. “Neighbors like everyone else”.

“The Marshall Plan”

City politics quickly moved away from this ideal and was reduced to a single logic of repair. This was the case with the Urban Regeneration Pact of 1996, which designated social housing areas as “urban free zones” and thereby established the logic of the exception. Was this even more true in the case of the 2003 Borlo Plan, which heralded urban renewal as a solution – or dissolution? – Definitely a problem.

Source: Le Monde



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