France: Centrality or Proximity, Consumption or Culture?
Abstract:The idea of the neighbourhood as a planning unit has not been prominent in France. Post-war reconstruction of housing took place around the existing town centres, in the large cities often as huge housing complexes grands ensembles. In time these housing estates were provided with health and sports facilities, child care and residents' meeting rooms an embryo of neighbourhood community places. Today, the tension between centrality and mobility and proximity and identity is plain for all to see. On one hand there are the mega-structure shopping centres, serving as nodes for the whole metropolitan area, on the other hand there is a call for smaller local centres to provide convenience stores as well as sociable spaces. These centres are especially needed in the poor neighbourhoods, but there they are also threatened by the privatization of services. Some observers note that the bad conditions and the sterile environments of the grands ensembles was one of the causes of the unrest in French housing estates in 2005.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2006-04-01
Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.
Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.
The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.
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