Journal Article

"Social mix" as "sustainability fix"?: Exploring social sustainability in the French suburbs


The French suburbs, or banlieues, have long been associated with marginalization and peripheralization, characterized by unemployment, a high proportion of ethnic minority populations and low education attainment levels. Since 2000, the ‘crisis’ of the banlieue has been addressed through a policy of ‘social mixing’ which aims to promote mixed communities in certain neighbourhoods, to ‘dilute’ the ‘problematic elements’ of the suburbs. This ‘social sustainability fix’ however has had mixed results. Questions can be raised over whether a policy based on increasing a neighbourhood’s social mix is an appropriate sustainability fix for the suburbs, and whether it has actually resulted in the outcomes that were intended. Rather than encouraging social integration, it is argued here that the policy of social mixing reinforces segregation, and has done little to tackle inequalities and social exclusion. We suggest that there are alternative solutions to the challenges of fostering social sustainability in the suburbs, which could be implemented in partnership with citizens and neighbourhood-based groups (associations) that would be more effective in addressing social sustainability solutions in 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: 2018-09-06

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Related resources

This RADAR resource is the Version of Record of "Social mix" as "sustainability fix"?: Exploring social sustainability in the French suburbs


  • Owner: Joseph Ripp
  • Collection: Outputs
  • Version: 1 (show all)
  • Status: Live
  • Views (since Sept 2022): 293