Urban Fold

A French Industrial Town's Renewal

With strong municipal involvement, the town of Roubaix has attracted textile shops and created cultural places in industrial buildings.

"French society as a whole may be struggling to cope with the pressures of a globalised economy.

But Roubaix, in the north-east, is living proof that France's former manufacturing strongholds can adapt to changing times."

"In its heyday, Roubaix and neighbouring Lille were second only to Manchester in the UK as a worldwide source of clothing.

But in the 1970s, after 30 years of post-World War II economic boom in France known as "les trente glorieuses", it all went sour.

One by one, the textile mills shut down as the town found itself undercut by foreign competition.

Now, however, an unlikely combination of art and commerce is reversing the decline, using Roubaix's heritage as the basis for new ventures."

Thanks to Julien Grouiller

Full Story: French town finds life after industry

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