Nemausus, Nîmes

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Nemausus, Nîmes

Mismatches Price Functional adequacy
Urban Design Quality Liveability Inclusion
Promotion and production Public promotion Industrialisation

Main objectives of the project

Nemausus is one of Jean Nouvel's most renowned social housing projects, created for the Délégation à l'aménagement du territoire et à l'action régionale of the Ville de Nîmes. The concept behind the building is straightforward: recognizing that there are no standard families with uniform needs and that affordability is essential for making housing accessible to all, an effective social housing project should be both flexible and cost-efficient. In the Nemausus complex, Jean Nouvel addressed these considerations by developing a construction system using prefabricated components, enabling rapid and systematic assembly. The industrial aesthetic of the exterior is mirrored inside, featuring rough concrete walls, aeronautical-style windows, metal staircases, and prefabricated panels that fit together like a Meccano set. This design approach creates a diverse range of dwellings—from studios and one-bedroom apartments to double-height units and three-bedroom triplexes—all benefiting from abundant natural light and excellent ventilation.

Date

  • 1987: Construction

Stakeholders

  • Promotor: Ville de Nîmes
  • Architect: Jean Nouvel

Location

Continent: Europe
Country/Region: France, Nimes

Description

Nîmes is a French city located in the south near the Mediterranean Sea. The city's fame largely stems from its numerous Roman-era buildings, including amphitheaters and aqueducts. The area enjoys a favorable climate for much of the year, and its residents often utilize public spaces, spending significant time away from home. However, Nîmes also faces substantial needs for social housing.

The objective of the Nemausus housing project was to address the needs of a constantly evolving society and to construct low-cost housing. The core idea was to define what constitutes a good apartment, which, according to its architect Jean Nouvel, is simply an apartment as large as possible. A good apartment is flexible and capable of being adapted. It should be affordable in a democratic sense. And more importantly, takes into consideration the time factor: after some years, needs might change. So, the building must too.

To optimize land use, the garage floor was designed to be semi-buried, adhering to a municipal ordinance and ensuring that the parking area does not obstruct views of the complex. Nouvel designed two elongated, almost parallel, boat-shaped buildings, with one being shorter than the other. Between them is a projected park and public space, which provides a sense of ownership to the residents. The design preserved two strips of trees from an old arboretum, running the length of the complex.

The two buildings feature semi-buried ground floor parking and three upper floors of apartments. The complex includes 114 housing units, ranging from simple apartments to duplexes and triplexes (such as studios and one-bedroom units with double-height ceilings). The total habitable area is 10,400 square meters, giving an average size of 91 square meters per dwelling, which is significantly larger than traditional social housing. Access to the buildings is via stairs located in the common area, separate from each building. Elevators are situated inside each building, centrally positioned. Horizontal corridors run the length of each building, covering all three floors. These corridors are designed as "high streets," wide enough for pedestrian and bicycle travel, and serve as communal spaces for neighbor interaction and housing expansion. On the opposite side facing the street and adjacent buildings, similar corridors function as private balconies for each unit. These passages expand the living space by opening the walls outward.

In Nemausus, the architect aimed to enhance the area by maximizing natural light and airflow, addressing issues that were previously neglected or undervalued. Currently, the buildings are home to a predominantly young population, with 80% of residents under 35 years old and the oldest being 51. Among the residents, 20% are unemployed, 3% are workers, 20% are employees, 31% are middle-class or educated individuals, 19% are students, and 7% belong to other categories.

To reduce costs, the building structure was designed to be practical and rational. The two buildings are supported by columns placed every five meters, surrounding the parking area. This design decision maintains visual continuity across both sides. The load-bearing walls, dividing each apartment, rest on these columns and are consistently spaced throughout the three floors. This modular approach creates uniformity across the building, allowing different apartment types to be easily configured.

The only deviation from the five-meter wall module is in the center of each building, where two walls are positioned closer together to accommodate the elevators. The stairs are detached from each building, featuring independent steel structures connected to the horizontal corridors by bridges.

The materials used in Nemausus contribute to its distinctive, radical appearance. To save costs, Nouvel utilized industrial materials and prefabricated components that are easy to replicate and assemble.

Tete en l'air, Paris

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Tete en l'air, Paris

Mismatches Diversity Climate change
Urban Design Environments Quality Liveability Inclusion
Promotion and production Public promotion Innovation Materials Technology Industrialisation

Main objectives of the project

Innovatively merging historical preservation with modern eco-friendly construction, the project in north Paris features a revitalized historic building and a new wooden structure with a playful facade of plug-in boxes. A south-facing garden enhances community connection, while the use of sustainable wood significantly lowers the carbon footprint and construction costs. This project exemplifies how thoughtful design can create high-quality, socially inclusive housing.

Date

  • 2013: Construction
  • 2007: Ganador

Stakeholders

  • Constructor: SIEMP
  • Architect: KOZ Architectes

Location

Continent: Europe
City: Paris
Country/Region: France, Paris

Description

The project is situated in an old working-class neighborhood in the north of Paris on a deep and narrow plot. The preexisting building in the plot were in very poor condition. However, the brief required preserving the building on the street to retain its picturesque charm. There was a sense that the area had a rich and vibrant social life, which inspired the studio to maintain the original structure. Thus, the building serves as an example of how to create a disruptive social housing project while preserving the spirit of the previous construction.

The first goal was to create a generous garden, open to the south. This garden lies along the natural path of the inhabitants and acts as an intermediate space between the street and the privacy of their homes. All the apartment living rooms open onto this garden, connecting residents to this small piece of urban nature and fostering a sense of community. The existing building on the street side was completely renovated to meet modern living standards. It also gained a double-height porch to provide views of the garden from the street and to allow access during the construction of the new building along the garden.

The new section of the building is constructed entirely of wood, reflecting the studio's strong belief in the material's unmatched ecological and aesthetic benefits. From the ground to the roof, new solutions were devised to address structural, acoustic, and fire safety issues. This high-tech use of a low-tech material significantly surpasses current environmental standards. Despite the strict discipline required for wood construction, the playful arrangement of the plug-in wood boxes on the facade disrupts the rational order, giving the building a spontaneous character. The random positioning of the boxes makes each apartment layout unique and versatile, suitable for uses beyond bedrooms, such as home offices or gym rooms. Small courtyards at the rear provide private gardens on the ground floor and bring natural light into all the bathrooms, adding extra comfort and a home-like quality of life.

The distinctive wooden cladding further breaks up the perception of the building's volume, giving it a quiet tone and highlighting the tactile quality of the rough natural wood. This helps blend the architecture with the garden, which features an undulating wooden path and terrace, delicate trees, and a meadow of wildflowers. The garden becomes an open-air room, welcoming the small community of residents. Ultimately, the project demonstrates that social housing can promote small-scale, sensitive utopias of well-being and pride.

In conclusion, the project highlights the significant ecological and economic advantages of using wood for social housing construction. The choice of wood not only offers unparalleled environmental benefits by utilizing a renewable resource but also enhances the aesthetic and structural quality of the buildings. This sustainable approach significantly reduces the overall carbon footprint and meets stringent environmental standards. Additionally, wood construction proves to be cost-effective, allowing for innovative design solutions that promote a sense of community and well-being among residents. The project exemplifies how sustainable and affordable materials can be used to create high-quality, socially inclusive housing, setting a precedent for future developments in the sector. Moreover, it is done with a disruptive design, unusual in social housing projects.

Ivry-sur-Seine, Paris

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Ivry-sur-Seine, Paris

Mismatches Location
Urban Design Environments Quality Liveability
Promotion and production Public promotion Industrialisation

Main objectives of the project

The Ivry-sur-Seine residential complex, built between 1969 and 1975, stands out for its innovative design, challenging conventional urban norms. Designed by Gailhoutet and Renaudie, the complex features a pyramid-like structure comprising eight buildings, with three notable ones named after historical figures. Characterized by sharp angles, exposed concrete, and a mix of public and private spaces, the complex defies the "brutalist" label, instead offering a fresh and unique urban environment. Its design incorporates mixed public and private spaces, utilizing elevated walkways and greenery-covered platforms to blend nature with architecture.

Date

  • 1975: Construction

Stakeholders

  • Architect: Jean Renaudie
  • Architect: Renée Gailhoutet

Location

City: Paris
Country/Region: France, Paris

Description

Located in the close suburbs of Paris, the Ivry-complex, built from 1969 to 1975 as part of the "Opération Jeanne-Hachette," challenges conventional urban design with its alternative approach. Comprising eight buildings, the complex, known as "Les Etoiles," was conceived by Gailhoutet and Renaudie. It encompasses 40 social dwellings, offices, and stores, arranged in a pyramid-like structure, integrating different levels.

Among the eight buildings, three stand out: Danielle Casanova, Jeanne Hachette, and Jean-Baptiste Clément, named after notable figures. Renaudie and Gailhoutet's collaboration is evident in these structures, characterized by sharp angles, exposed concrete, and a mix of public and private spaces, showcasing Renaudie's vision of unique urban spaces.

While termed "brutalist," the Ivry-complex defies such categorization, maintaining its freshness even after nearly four decades. Its innovative design incorporates mixed public and private spaces, utilizing the third dimension with elevated walkways and greenery-covered platforms. This approach, utilizing triangles and green elements, aims to blend nature with architecture, creating a labyrinthine yet inviting environment.

Integral to the complex is its ground design, blending continuity with discontinuity. Streets permeate the buildings via interior or exterior pathways, while terraces and rooftops feature cultivable earth, hosting vegetation. This departure from the podium model, prevalent at the time, sets the Ivry-complex apart, offering autonomy to each ground fragment and varying heights.

The Place Voltaire, an octagonal square formed by Renaudie's buildings and a library honoring Antonin Artaud, serves as a vibrant public space. It caters to both residents and visitors, hosting gatherings and providing access to the subway station.

Beyond its immediate surroundings, the Ivry-complex has influenced urban development. Gailhoutet and Renaudie's methods have been replicated in subsequent projects, such as those in Saint Denis, Givors, and Saint-Martin-d’Hères, showcasing the uniqueness of each space while challenging conventional urban norms. This emphasis on creativity in suburban areas contrasts with the rigid urban schemes of central Paris, highlighting the potential of the banlieues as centers of innovation and design.

Village Vertical, Villeurbanne, France

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Village Vertical, Villeurbanne, France

Mismatches Vulnerable groups
Promotion and production Public-private partnerships Self-management Self-promotion Cooperatives
Ownership and tenure Shared ownership Protection of social housing

Main objectives of the project

Initiated in the fall of 2005, the Village Vertical became a reality in June 2013 when 14 households, members of our variable capital cooperative established in December 2010, moved in. These households, from diverse backgrounds, collaborated to bring the project to fruition.Each household resides in an eco-friendly building they helped design, sharing certain spaces and resources to foster genuine neighborhood solidarity. This human-scale project integrates conviviality, responsibility, savings, mutual aid, ecology, and democracy. As the collective sole owner of the building, each household rents its unit within a democratic management framework that prohibits speculation and profit.

Date

  • 2013: Construction
  • 2005: En proceso

Stakeholders

  • Promotor: Village Vertical Coop.
  • Promotor: HLM Rhône Saône Habitat
  • Architect: Détry-Lévy
  • Architect: Arbor&Sens
  • AILOJ
  • Habicoop

Location

Country/Region: France, Lyon

Description

The project began in 2005 when a group of four individuals sought to address their housing issues by designing a residents' cooperative. Only one couple from the original group remained until the project's completion, with others joining along the way. Initially, they attempted to acquire and convert existing buildings, such as an old factory, but abandoned this plan due to the volatile real estate market. To become more organized, they formed an association and dedicated several hours weekly to project development, including regular and thematic meetings focused on architecture, financing, and legal matters. In 2006, Habicoop approached the association, asking them to lead the cooperative housing movement in France. This partnership helped them secure a collaboration with HLM Rhône Saône Habitat, which enabled them to obtain land with support from Greater Lyon and Villeurbanne. By 2008, the land was secured, and discussions with architects Arbor&Sens and Détry-Lévy began. To ensure financial feasibility, two-thirds of the housing was allocated for home ownership, and one-third was designated for the "village." The building permit was obtained in 2010, and the association of future residents transformed into a cooperative. Habicoop devised a legal framework to compensate for the lack of formal recognition of residents' cooperatives, which was only established by the Alur law in 2014. From the start of construction in 2011 to the building's completion in 2013, residents ensured adherence to ecological standards. The artisans and architects, accustomed to traditional roles, were encouraged to adapt their approaches to the collaborative environment. Other partners, like AILOJ, which supports young people in integration, also joined the project.

Numerous contributors made the cooperative possible. Habicoop provided project management assistance, as well as legal and financial support. Architects Arbor&Sens and Détry-Lévy co-designed the project with residents. HLM Rhône Saône Habitat handled construction and financial backing. AILOJ managed the social housing units for young people in integration. Villeurbanne and Greater Lyon sold the land, with the Region granting a subsidy of 4,000 euros per unit. The Vertical Village is part of the social and solidarity economy movement, partnering with Enercoop for renewable energy, Miecyclette for organic bread delivery, Arbralégumes for organic produce, and Prairial for grocery deliveries.

Since there was no legal status for housing cooperatives in France before 2014, the Village Vertical operates as a "cooperative company with simplified shares and variable capital" with an initial capital of €380K. Residents collectively own the building and rent their units from the cooperative. Once the loan is repaid, an annuity can be distributed to them and their heirs. The social housing within the building is managed by HLM but will revert to the Village after 20 years.

The building houses 34 units, 14 of which belong to the Village Vertical: two T1s for young people in integration, five T2s, two T3s, two T4s, and three T5s. Shared amenities include a laundry room, a common room with a kitchen, and a vegetable garden. The building is energy-efficient with wooden facades, a photovoltaic roof, and a wood-fired boiler. Generous common areas support the sharing of equipment and services, fostering community interaction and cooperation.

Each resident, cooperator or not, signs the Village charter, emphasizing cooperation, ecology, democracy, and a balance between individual and collective spaces. Collective ownership and decision-making are governed by a democratic process, with "one person, one vote" principle. Weekly "Vertical Thursdays" include a meeting and a shared meal for discussing issues and organizing tasks, while monthly mandatory meetings ensure task distribution. About sixty tasks are identified and assigned among residents, with larger roles shared by multiple people. Residents share household appliances and vehicles and organize group food deliveries in partnership with local cooperatives. Departing residents must resell their shares without profit, and new members are co-opted unanimously from a waiting list.

Since 2013, the "vertical villagers" have lived together according to their ecological and supportive ideals. Significant resident involvement was crucial in the building's design. Managing the cooperative demands balancing personal, professional, and community responsibilities. Young people in integration, though less involved, benefit from supportive neighbors. The village functions as a laboratory for sustainable living, sharing equipment, managing waste, cultivating a vegetable garden, and utilizing rainwater. Democratic discussions and decisions are a daily norm. Over time, outreach projects like community composting, shared gardens, and food deliveries have developed, and a Citiz car-sharing station has been established in the neighborhood thanks to the villagers' efforts.

The cooperative is non-profit, preventing real estate speculation and enabling access to property for those with limited means. It is part of the participatory housing movement, giving residents a say in their housing's design and management. Sharing spaces fosters solidarity and reciprocity within the community.

The project's success relied heavily on the support of partners like Habicoop and Rhône Saône Habitat, and the residents' determination was crucial for maintaining its ecological focus. Effective communication and mutual understanding among the various contributors were essential. Learning to co-manage the project was vital for both residents and professionals. Ultimately, establishing democratic processes and balancing collective and private life have ensured the cooperative's ongoing viability and functionality.

Organisme de Foncier Solidaire de la Métropole Lilloise (OFSML)

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Organisme de Foncier Solidaire de la Métropole Lilloise (OFSML)

Mismatches Price Financing
Policies and regulations Local policies Regulation
Promotion and production Public promotion Cooperatives
Ownership and tenure Shared ownership Protection of social housing

Main objectives of the project

The Organisme de Foncier Solidaire (OFS) focuses on ensuring long-term housing affordability through an innovative lease model that separates land and property ownership. Established in Lille and approved by the State, the OFS acquires land and partners with developers to build affordable housing units. This model prevents land speculation, keeps housing costs low, and guarantees that homes remain affordable for future generations, thereby addressing housing needs for households with limited financial resources.

Date

  • 2017: Implementation

Stakeholders

  • OFSML

Location

Continent: Europe
Country/Region: France, Lille

Description

The City of Lille, with a population of 228,000, is the 10th largest city in France, comprising 138,000 housing units. Seventy percent of its residents are tenants, reflecting a tight housing market with a 25% turnover, a 5% real vacancy rate, and over 16,500 requests for social housing. Lille ranks as the 4th most expensive provincial city in the existing market (€3,130/m²) and the 3rd most expensive in the rental market (€13.9/m² in 2017). Despite this, Lille's median income is 17% lower than the national median. Housing prices in Lille tripled between 2000 and 2011. To address these challenges, the City of Lille set a goal of 10,000 new housing units from 2014 to 2020, with a focus on equal distribution of social and affordable housing. Various tools support this initiative, such as the Reserved Site for Housing (Emplacement Réservé pour le Logement – ERL), land action, and social diversity obligations (servitude de mixité sociale). Despite anti-speculation clauses, affordable housing is not permanently socially-oriented, as original buyers can sell back to the free market. Consequently, Lille has been exploring new models for securing permanently affordable homeownership.

The "Organisme de Foncier Solidaire" (OFS) is a non-profit organization, approved by the State on July 20, 2017, designed to tackle these housing issues. Lille's OFS, the first in France, operates on a metropolitan scale, acquiring and managing land to support the construction of housing for households struggling to find decent housing. This model neutralizes land costs over time, reducing housing costs and increasing affordability. The OFS grants a lease known as “Bail Réel Solidaire” (BRS), which only OFS can use. While the OFS does not directly build housing, developers do so under BRS conditions: resource thresholds, sale price limits, principal residence requirements, and appropriate housing size for household size. The BRS is valid for 19 to 99 years and can be renewed upon ownership changes.

The OFSML is the first OFS approved by the State, aiming to introduce a new ownership approach that treats land as a common good, ensuring permanent affordability and better use of public funds. The model also secures households with the BRS lease. Projects under the OFSML, like the Cosmopole project (developer: Finapar), follow the Community Land Trust (CLT) model, separating land ownership from building ownership. The process for the Cosmopole project includes several steps:

1. The City of Lille owns the land.
2. An agreement between the OFSML and the City of Lille is made to develop OFS/BRS housing.
3. The City of Lille issues a call for tenders and sells the land to the selected developer.
4. The developer sells the land to the OFSML for €1 (equivalent to 15 OFS housing units) and signs an initial BRS with the OFSML, paying a monthly fee of €1/m².
5. The developer constructs and sells OFS/BRS housing while adhering to criteria set by the OFSML. Buyers must be approved by the OFSML.
6. Approved buyers sign a VEFA-type reservation with the developer and a User BRS with the OFSML.
7. The household becomes the building owner and land tenant (paying a monthly fee of €1/m²).
8. If the owner sells the housing, the selling price is regulated, and the new buyer must meet the same conditions: resource thresholds, principal residence, and appropriate housing size. 9. The BRS is then renewed for another 99 years.

The first OFS housing project in Lille enabled middle-class households to access housing in city centers and neighborhoods typically inhabited by affluent residents. The OFSML successfully reached its target audience through press articles and the municipal paper explaining the OFSML model. Additionally, the OFSML launched a website to expand its reach further.

The housing offered by the OFSML is very affordable, priced at €2,110 per square meter (including VAT) without parking. These prices align with the local definition of social homeownership, aimed at people with modest resources. In the first project, half of the buyers transitioned from social rental housing. The project's prime location near various urban services enhances its attractiveness and keeps the land affordable over time, combating land speculation.

Despite these successes, the OFSML faces challenges such as uncertainty regarding bank mobilization. It is exploring different legal systems to better align with its model and activities while seeking metropolitan-level opportunities.

The OFS model has garnered significant interest in France. In November 2018, the City of Lille hosted a two-day event for French OFS organizations and established the French OFS network "Foncier Solidaire France," supported by the French government. This network aims to facilitate member exchanges, address challenges, gather proposals, and forward recommendations at the national level.

Solidarités Nouvelles pour le Logement (SNL) strategies to provide affordable housing (France)

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Solidarités Nouvelles pour le Logement (SNL) strategies to provide affordable housing (France)

Mismatches Segregation Vulnerable groups
Policies and regulations National policies Local policies Regulation Global frameworks Governance Public-private initiatives Participatory processes
Financing Financial actors Cultural actors Public-private collaboration
Promotion and production Public-private partnerships Private promotion Progressive housing

Main objectives of the project

SNL's housing initiatives exhibit a diverse range of strategies, from prioritizing access to properties by transforming them into affordable housing in small towns, to securing long-term housing solutions in urban areas like Paris through partnerships with private investors and legal frameworks, and employing specific lease mechanisms for sustainable refurbishment efforts.

Date

  • 1988: Implementation

Stakeholders

  • SNL

Location

Continent: Europe
Country/Region: France

Description

The French government estimates a need for 500,000 new housing units to address housing demands adequately, yet only around 350,000 units are constructed annually. Despite municipalities being obligated to provide social housing, this obligation is not consistently met, resulting in a shortage of affordable homes. Additionally, some properties remain vacant due to owners being dissuaded from renting them out because of taxation concerns.

Solidarités Nouvelles pour le Logement (SNL) addresses these challenges by providing temporary housing to vulnerable households and supporting them until they can secure permanent accommodation. In 2018, SNL housed 2,894 individuals, including 1,285 children, many of whom were previously homeless or living in inadequate conditions. SNL operates through SNL-Prologues, a real estate social enterprise that acquires, renovates, and manages properties for housing vulnerable families. SNL-Prologues, as a social economy cooperative, has opened its capital to social savings funds and private investors and is exempt from certain taxes due to its social mission.

One of SNL's strategies involves collaborating with local authorities to acquire properties rented with low-comfort features, converting them into decent and affordable housing.
For instance, in a small town where affordable housing was scarce, SNL successfully lobbied the local government to grant them the right of first refusal for a property unlawfully rented by slumlords. By persuading the municipality to address the needs of the households affected, SNL gained priority access to acquire the property. This allowed SNL to transform it into decent and highly affordable housing for five families, preventing it from being acquired by another investor. In Paris, SNL utilizes legal frameworks to partner with private investors, securing housing for vulnerable households through innovative financial arrangements and subsidies. Under this arrangement, private investors grant SNL-Prologues the usufruct right, enabling SNL-Prologues to rent the property for a specified period. Through financing of €150,000, sourced from subsidies provided by local authorities and NGOs, SNL is poised to accommodate vulnerable households in six affordable dwellings for a duration of 20 years. Additionally, in Paris, SNL utilized a specific lease mechanism known as "bail à réhabilitation" (renovation lease) to temporarily assume ownership of a 110 m2 apartment in the city center. Through extensive refurbishment efforts, SNL reduced the property's energy consumption by 35% and subdivided it into two smaller apartments suitable for two formerly homeless families. The property owner benefits from tax incentives associated with renting under this status, and upon the lease's expiration in 18 years, they will regain possession of a refurbished property.

SNL's efforts result in significant social impact, with 97% of individuals transitioning to permanent housing after an average stay of three years in SNL-provided accommodation. The average annual cost per dwelling, including acquisition and renovation, is €3,660, with funding sourced from rent payments (32%), public subsidies (50%), and private philanthropy (16%). Notably, the cost of housing a family in a hotel room is significantly higher at €6,240 per year, underscoring the cost-effectiveness of SNL's approach.

Strasbourg strategy against empty houses

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Strasbourg strategy against empty houses

Mismatches Vacant housing
Policies and regulations Global frameworks Governance Data and monitoring Evaluation and impact
Financing

Main objectives of the project

Addressing housing concerns encompasses not only individuals without homes but also properties without occupants. In response, Strasbourg Eurométropole (Metropolitan Area of Strasbourg) initiated a strategic approach aimed at transforming vacant dwellings into accessible housing options. This initiative reflects a meticulously devised policy grounded in comprehensive data and knowledge, designed to bolster the city's social housing sector while providing viable solutions for owners of unoccupied properties.

Date

  • 2015: Implementation

Stakeholders

  • Strasbourg Eurométropole

Location

Continent: Europe
Country/Region: France, Strasbourg

Description

Strasbourg recognized the pressing issue surrounding vacant housing: many properties could easily be repurposed into social rental units. However, understanding why these properties remained unoccupied proved challenging. Thus, an assessment program was initiated. Leveraging the Ministry of Economy and Finance's list of vacant homes, city hall corresponded with listed owners, arranging interviews to delve into the reasons behind the vacancy. The focus was primarily on small landlords, who often cited concerns such as unpaid rent, property degradation, and cumbersome administrative procedures as deterrents to renting out their properties. The result of the meeting was that the existing systems lacked clarity, exacerbating the situation. Some owners had previously rented out their properties but encountered difficulties, ranging from tenant disputes to necessary but unaffordable building repairs.

Armed with insights into the issue, the city swiftly moved toward solutions. A comprehensive 'toolbox' was developed, comprising easily understandable documents and accessible financial assistance to guide owners through their options. Free advice is now available, covering property valuation, heritage significance assessment, and eligibility for grants. The National Habitat Agency steps in to assist landlords in connecting with new tenants or mediating disputes with existing ones.

To incentivize owners to make their properties available for social housing, the Eurometropole offers grants of up to €3,000. This incentive, disbursed on a 'half now, half later' basis, provides €1,500 upon removing the property from vacancy and offering it for social housing, with an additional €1,500 granted if the tenancy lasts at least two years. Each municipality within Strasbourg Eurometropole manages the disbursement, tailoring the system to local needs.

Furthermore, the city negotiated preferential rates with banks, resulting in zero-interest loans for owners undertaking building improvements to make their properties tenant-ready. To assist owners in finding suitable contractors, the city compiled a categorized list of companies operating in various service areas.

These initiatives aimed at small landlords are driving an increase in affordable rents while aiding struggling families in managing their real estate assets. Since May 2016, the Eurometropole has spent €320,000 (€1400 per dwelling). It has mobilised 230 vacant dwellings (all rented at social rental rates), 87 of which were rented through rental intermediation (40%). Ten municipalities are involved and over 500 landlords have been met.

Caserne de Reuilly

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Caserne de Reuilly

Mismatches Services Diversity
Urban Design Environments Liveability
Promotion and production Public promotion
Ownership and tenure

Main objectives of the project

The Caserne de Reuilly stands as a flagship urban renewal endeavor aimed at providing accessible housing solutions in the heart of Paris. As an integral component of the city's sustainable development strategy, this initiative marks a significant shift in repurposing former military infrastructure for social good. Under the joint efforts of the public housing entity Paris Habitat, municipal authorities, the State, and local stakeholders, the barracks underwent a comprehensive revitalization process, prioritizing circularity principles while preserving its historical significance. Amidst the backdrop of Paris' dense urban landscape, the transformation of Reuilly has not only addressed the shortage of affordable housing but also cultivated a diverse and inclusive community. Now encompassing a mix of affordable residences, student accommodations, childcare facilities, green spaces, and commercial establishments, the area has been transformed from a vacant lot into a thriving neighborhood, embodying the city's commitment to sustainable urban development.

Date

  • 2019: Construction

Stakeholders

  • Promotor: Paris Habitat
  • Architect: NP2F
  • Architect: Lin Architects Urbanists
  • Architect: Mir Architectes
  • Architect: Charles-Henri Tachon
  • Architect: LACROIX CHESSEX

Location

Continent: Europe
City: Paris
Country/Region: France, Paris

Description

The history of the Caserne de Reuilly dates back to the 17th century, but by the early 21st century, the barracks were in dire need of refurbishment. Consequently, the city of Paris acquired the land from the Defense Ministry with the aim of rejuvenating the area. Collaborating with Paris Habitat, the site underwent a transformation into a new neighborhood featuring social housing, university residences, and commercial zones. The overarching goal was to preserve the historical character while introducing new spaces, fostering a diverse and mixed-use community. In total, the development comprises 582 housing units.

Paris Habitat demonstrated pioneering efforts by integrating the reuse of materials into the project. For instance, lighting fixtures, slates, and paving stones from the barracks were repurposed on-site. In addition to refurbishing the old barracks, new buildings were erected, such as those along Diderot Boulevard, which harmoniously blend with the existing architecture. These buildings incorporate 79 dwellings, a childcare facility, a public parking lot, and commercial spaces. The architectural design responds directly to the surrounding context while embracing contemporary elements, contributing to the coherence of the neighborhood. Addressing the space between the fire station, Reuilly barracks, and the new construction was a key challenge. The proposed structure aims to reconcile various geometries, resulting in a complex yet cohesive architectural form characterized by terraces and indentations. The inclusion of a square between the buildings encourages social interaction, while the lower volume's roof serves as a playground for the childcare facility, fostering a vibrant community atmosphere.

Similarly, the residential building known as plot B1, comprising 22 housing units, serves as an entry point to the barracks complex. Its colorful façade distinguishes it from the rest of the development while maintaining overall harmony, serving as a visible and inviting gateway to the barracks.

In essence, the new complex exemplifies how to create affordable housing while preserving public ownership, employing high-quality architecture, and embracing a variety of housing typologies to nurture a diverse and inclusive community.

Le Chaperon-Vert (Îlot 5)

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Le Chaperon-Vert (Îlot 5)

Mismatches Functional adequacy Climate change
Urban Design Environments Liveability
Promotion and production Public promotion
Ownership and tenure Protection of social housing

Main objectives of the project

Constructed in the 1950s on land previously occupied by market gardens and a shanty town, Chaperon-Vert briefly claimed the title of the largest low-cost housing estate (HLM) in Île-de-France. Over fifty years later, the district initiated an urban renewal project (ORU) under the auspices of the National Agency for Urban Renovation (ANRU). The decade-long renovation endeavor for Le Chaperon-Vert culminated with the refurbishment of the final block, Building Number 5, encompassing six buildings and a total of 264 housing units.

Date

  • 2019: Construction

Stakeholders

  • Architect: L’agence RVA
  • Architect: Jacques Poirier
  • Promotor: National Agency for Urban Renovation (ANRU)

Location

Continent: Europe
City: Paris
Country/Region: France, Paris

Description

The overarching objective of the renovation project was to enhance the comfort, design, and energy efficiency of the buildings, within the context of a 1960s structure in urgent need of attention. Like many similar housing estates of its time, Chaperon-Vert faced challenges such as space constraints due to surrounding roads and parking lots, leading to significant noise and air pollution as well as a lack of communal green areas. Social issues and energy inefficiency were pressing concerns necessitating urban and housing interventions. "Îlot 5," comprising six buildings, marked the culmination of this ambitious endeavor on the Arcueil side. The architects aimed to preserve and amplify the urban coherence of the complex by restoring its classic modern extrados through the enhancement of concrete structures and brick infills. They also sought to establish a local public park to reflect the scale of the residence and address contemporary housing quality standards through light extensions around the garden that harmonized with the existing rhythm.

The intervention involved several key aspects. Initially, restoration efforts focused on the metal shutters and other facade elements, while balconies were replaced with perforated metal to afford greater privacy, matching the color scheme of the extensions. Additionally, interior facades received a light sand-colored aluminum envelope, and a prefabricated reinforced concrete system was installed with brick panel infills. Notably, approximately 1,000 square meters of living space were added by thickening the walls.

Five previously marginalized squares within the district underwent complete redevelopment to improve access to the block's core, foster biodiversity, and introduce new exchange spaces, transforming former parking-dominated areas into vibrant green public spaces. Tenant consultations were conducted to co-design the future of Chaperon-Vert and indoor housing conditions. Energy efficiency was significantly improved, with all homes now achieving a label C energy performance rating (annual consumption less than 150 kWh/square meters) through equipment upgrades and facade enhancements.

The outcome of the intervention is evident in the transformation of 264 dwellings into 249, with 157 renovated or restructured and 92 extended. At the heart of the revitalized enclave lies a landscaped square featuring play and relaxation areas alongside fruit trees.

This final intervention seamlessly aligns with the overarching renovation project, with seven distinct work sites established, each reflecting its unique identity. While red brick remains prominent on the street-facing side (albeit cleaned facades), various facades within the blocks retain their distinct characteristics. Notably, Building Number 5 stands out with its glossy golden metal finish.

ToitMoiNous - An intergenerational and mixed community

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ToitMoiNous - An intergenerational and mixed community

Mismatches Cultural suitability Diversity New family structures
Urban Design Participatory processes
Promotion and production Public promotion Public-private partnerships Self-management Cooperatives

Main objectives of the project

In Villeneuve-d’Ascq, near Lille, a unique hybrid housing complex and cooperative scheme called "ToitMoiNous" accommodates multiple generations. Assisted by "Notre Logis," residents participated in designing the building, which blends social, assisted, and private housing. What sets it apart are the shared spaces like a garden and guest studio, fostering connection among the 40 residents. A "common life charter" promotes solidarity, cultural acceptance, consensus decision-making, sustainability, and inclusivity across generations.

Date

  • 2011: Construction

Stakeholders

  • Promotor: ToitMoiNous
  • Notre Logis

Location

Continent: Europe
Country/Region: France, Lille

Description

Formed in June 2011, the association "Habitat groupeté solidaire" initiated the "ToitMoiNous" project, initially targeting seniors but later expanding to include younger families, thus becoming intergenerational. By early 2016, the group comprised 22 families, including 10 retirees, totaling 30 adults and 15 children aged 1 to 17. Membership evolves over time, with new members joining via a coaptation protocol and agreement to the "charter of common life," committing to solidarity and tolerance principles.

Situated on rue du 8 mai 1945 in Villeneuve d'Ascq, the building encompasses 22 housing units, including apartments and intermediate housing for families. Seven units are designated for social rental, 10 for rental-accession, and four for free access. Collective spaces include a common room for activities, a guest room, laundry facilities, a garden, and a workshop.

Shared spaces, tools, and service exchanges are integral to all members' commitments. Each household contributed to the building's architectural design, partnering with the architect. The project is supported by the social landlord "Notre Logis" under a predefined agreement delineating responsibilities and preserving association members' autonomy.

The ToitMoiNous association annually elects its office and board of directors, conducting monthly meetings where various commissions handle tasks. Decisions, preferably achieved through consensus, are made by qualified majority vote. Commissions cover "green spaces," "well-being," "communication," and "recruitment and reception of new members."

Tenant participation in decisions is facilitated through delegation from the lessor. The association may engage non-resident members for neighborhood activities.

As a hub for exchanges and shared experiences, group housing promotes openness, citizenship, and ecology. Solidarity is a core value, fostering better communal living while respecting privacy and active city engagement. A Charter outlines fundamental values and reciprocal commitments, while internal regulations govern group housing implementation. Embracing sustainable development, the project integrates energy-efficient standards, proximity to amenities, services, leisure, and public transport.