Book Chapter

The French banlieue: Renovating the suburbs


The French banlieues were constructed from the mid-1950s in response to rapid economic growth and subsequent migration to the cities, both from rural areas as well as from outside France, during the post-war period. Low-cost public sector housing was constructed on the edge of cities, characterized by high-rise towers, few community facilities, and often poor connectivity to the rest of the city. However, by the mid-1970s, these peripheral housing estates had become synonymous with marginalization and socioeconomic exclusion, with low-income households, often of ethnic minority background, feeling isolated from mainstream society. A number of urban renewal programs have attempted to tackle these issues, most recently the Program National de Rénovation Urbaine (PNRU), which aims to address stigmatization of the banlieue through housing diversification, area improvements, and a policy of “social mixing.” However, evidence suggests that this policy has only been partially successful, due to the emphasis on demolition of the social housing stock, with an erosion of affordable housing for the least well-off, as well as limited evidence of the benefits of introducing middle-income housing to disadvantaged neighborhoods in terms of social mixing and integration. Critics suggest that urban renewal programs in the banlieue should integrate actions to promote social cohesion through community-led initiatives, to create more socially sustainable neighborhoods for the future.

Attached files


Carpenter, Juliet

Oxford Brookes departments

Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment\School of the Built Environment


Year of publication: 2018
Date of RADAR deposit: 2018-09-18

All rights reserved. This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in Routledge Companion to the Suburbs on 6 Sept. 2018, available online:

Related resources

This RADAR resource is the Accepted Manuscript of The French banlieue: Renovating the suburbs
This RADAR resource is Part of The Routledge Companion to the Suburbs (ISBN: 9781138290235)


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