On November 18th, the community board of Lyon passed a decision that proved to be controversial in the neighborhood of La Guillotière, in the city’s 7th arrondissement. As part of the redevelopment project for the Mazagran sector, the matter in question is the demolishment of the building located at 52 Rue Montesquieu.
A portion of the neighborhood’s residents opposed the decision, and particularly the “The Guillotins,” a group that recently formed in order to campaign for the preservation of Guillotière’s working-class character. But such opposition had no effect. On the night of Monday, November 18th, Grand Lyon approved an advance of 800,000 euro in order to carry out the “demolition and asbestos removal works for the buildings located at 11 Rue Jangot and 52 Rue Montesquieu.”
“Airing Out” by Creating Green Spaces, or Creating Public Housing?
Amongst the councillors of Grand Lyon, the decision did not cause any debate. On the evening of the 18th, only the EELV, the primary French ecological political party, abstained from voting for the decision, which had been quickly brought up at the end of the meeting. Gilles Buna, spokesman for the project, Vice-President of Grand Lyon, and head of urban planning, was pleased with the result. Meanwhile, Laure Dagorne, on behalf of the group Ensemble pour le Grand Lyon (Together for Grand Lyon), took the floor and declared approvingly: “We are finally going to air out the La Guillotière neighborhood, and it is desperately needed.” However, the group “Les Guillotins,” have stated that: “As is shown from studies conducted, the building is perfectly fit for being restored in order to provide housing,” housing which they would like to see be state-subsidized. In a report distributed prior to the decision, they asked: “Today, the housing crisis is especially acute, and many people are on the street. In this situation does the local administration have legitimate reasons for proceeding with the demolition of this building?”
On November 18th, the President of Grand Lyon, Gérard Collomb, implicitly responded to these previously voiced criticisms when he said “I want to point out that when we say that we are going to destroy two buildings in order to air out the neighborhood, we are also going to build 180 units on the premises, about fifty of which will be available in three years.”
Even in cases where local authorities promise to deliver beneficial developments, should the opinions of residents be given priority?
Credits: Images and data linked to sources.
Original article, originally published in French, here.