France: Reimagining the Banlieue | European Journal | DW | 13.02.2013
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European Journal

France: Reimagining the Banlieue

Desolate housing developments, torched cars and angry youth - these are the images that dominate media coverage of urban suburbs in France. Now architects have taken their hand to a Parisian banlieue in a regeneration program that aims to revitalize the troubled district.

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Champigny-sur-Marne, south of Paris, is known as a socially disadvantaged area. Many of its residents are immigrants, and many are unemployed. The town is blanketed with tracts of unattractive pre-fab housing. Now a multi-million euro project is building new single-family houses - and in an especially unusual move, they’re being built directly on top of the prefabricated units. The goal is to create dwellings that will breathe fresh life into the community.