December 04 2013

Demolition and Development: 52 Rue Montesquieu in Lyon, Rhône-Alpes, France

A green space outside of Rue 52 Montesquieu, Lyon, France.

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.”

Grand Lyon is one of France's largest metropolitan areas.

“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.

Marcus Khoury

Marcus Khoury is a recent graduate of the University of California Los Angeles, where he obtained a B.A. in French & Francophone Studies. Aside from his native Michigan, Marcus has lived in several states, in addition to France and Chile. Owing to his experiences with a variety of cultures, languages, and environments, he has always been keenly interested in how the exchange of ideas between different cities, regions, and countries helps to shape both physical and cultural landscapes. His linguistic background, in addition to his interest in the diversity of international urban environments and experiences, has led Marcus to fill the position of French Language Translator at The Grid, where he will be translating and presenting French language material involving environmental design.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 4th, 2013 at 9:48 am and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Government/Politics, History/Preservation, Housing, Social/Demographics, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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