French Utopia Devolves

Born from the 1968 riots, a carefully planned community in France has been steadily taken over by crime and unrest, prompting some to question whether its utopian ideals actually work.

The area is now a hotbed of racial clashes and social controversies. Recent waves of crime have underlined the area's decline.

"Villeneuve was a careful mixture of private and public housing, including subsidized apartments for low-income families, with branch offices of city hall and a neighborhood corporation that would take care of public spaces while providing residents construction, plumbing and painting services at moderate costs.

In the spirit of '68, we made a bet, that with this social mixing we could help everyone advance,' said Jean-Philippe Motte, a longtime city councilor from the political left. 'Of course, that was 40 years ago.'

Villeneuve began to deteriorate in the 1990s, with more poverty and joblessness, especially as immigrants from former colonies of the Maghreb and black Africa altered the original social and economic balance. Some of those who could afford to leave did so, and a population of nearly 16,000 dropped to the current 12,000. Three of the original nine schools closed."

Full Story: Utopian Dream Becomes Battleground in France

Comments

Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

New! 4th Edition of the Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs just released.
Starting at $24.95

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $209

Stay thirsty, urbanists

These sturdy water bottles are eco-friendly and perfect for urbanists on the go.
$19.00
T-shirt with map of Chicago

Show your city pride

Men's Ultrasoft CityFabric© tees. Six cities available.
$23.00