Planning for Socially Mixed Housing in Paris, France + Its Implications on Neighborhood

Urban Planning Thesis

Millay Kogan

Clara Irazabal, instructor

This master’s thesis sought to update and expand upon current research on social mix housing policies in Paris, France by focusing on the effects of promoting socially-mixed communities through a recently passed legal mandate (the Loi Relative à la Solidarité et au Renouvellement Urbains (SRU) in two distinct neighborhoods, the sixteenth arrondissement in the western section of the city and la Goutte d’Or in the northeast. More specifically, this research analyzed social mixing policies within the historical context of social housing policy in France and examines four critical components: data related to how social mix policies are being carried out throughout the city and within these two neighborhoods; physical manifestations of social mix within each neighborhood; the opinions of local residents and community members to decipher whether actual mixing between social classes is taking place within these neighborhoods; and if there are any services and/or programs that can be put into place in order to better facilitate neighborhood cohesion.

A historical analysis of policies and programs in Paris shows that the city has come a long way in terms of seeking effective social housing policies and programs and has, indeed, achieved its goals to make affordable housing available within the city limits, albeit with some concerns remaining over the spatial distribution of units.  Findings from site visits show that physical manifestations of changing neighborhood demographics appear to be present in la Goutte d’Or, though less so in the sixteenth arrondissement. Interviews also support previous research that interactions between differing ethnic and social groups appear to be minimal. Furthermore, interviews suggest that improving efforts on behalf of city officials to communicate their rationale for creating socially-mixed communities, as well as improving local schools and encouraging local community members and businesses to host social events, may also help facilitate social interactions between groups within these communities as well.