The legal and administrative barriers that protect established inhabitants against outsiders coming to settle did not disappear with fortifications and city tolls. Access to social housing, for example, is reserved for the poorly housed who have been residents for a number of years. Environmental associations are multiplying initiatives against projects for assistance centres. Hospitality shapes the conditions of sharing private space with a singular “other”, unlike public policies that define conditions of access for all, with the risk of excluding some among them.
The Other - not where expected
Montreal has long been a cluster of distinctive cultural groups, a multi-ethnic city. But since the 1990s, the number of immigrant countries of origin has increased considerably, at the same time as Quebec has claimed recognition of the fact. Ethnic groups assert themselves either by becoming involved in political life or by emphasizing their religious difference. Places of worship become established but non-members of the communities they emblematised put up resistance, particularly before the courts. A new pragmatic culture of urban co-existence seems necessary.
Abidjan under stress
The development of Ivory Coast has entailed an influx of foreign workers from neighbouring countries. But for the past few years, the government has been endeavouring to create an “Ivoirité” or “Ivorianness”, which differentiates native-born Ivorians from foreign newcomers. The number of foreigners is declining in the country and social relations between foreigners and native Ivorians are deteriorating. Foreigners are beginning to give themselves collective visibility, particularly by producing a newspaper.
Moscow is a large village. Tourists and traders, rural migrants and intelligentsia
For Muscovites, the Russian capital is a villager city in which tourists and immigrants easily get lost.
Hospitality as the horizon of migration
In cities such as Marseille, with an age-old hospitality tradition, the continuous encounter between urban natives and non-natives is given expression by the language or the accent. The urban mosaic offers the newcomer numerous contexts in which to test out and recognise sameness and difference. Care not to humiliate the Other is key to the respectability of this encounter - a respectability that must characterise urban space, its facilities and its services.
The Cité de la Castellane in Marseille is home to nearly five thousand tenants, large families of foreign origin and precarious status. A downtown social centre receives and assists residents seeking jobs or social aid. Its patronage by users leads to the minimum standards of civility that characterise the place and each person. People who do voluntary reception work have become valuable intermediaries for access to jobs, education and leisure pursuits.
Economic weakening of an ever greaterpart ot the population and increasing assistance measures are steadily making it more difficult to inform users properly. Rising social precarity is multipling applicants’ profiles and infinitum. The receveing officers, beset with uncertain assistance recipients. The encounter of these two uncertainties is the run-of-the-mill for the public service. Simply provinding a place to stop and talk, as in Strasbourg, for example, can sometimes be the way to offer a useful in-between area that acts as a breathing space.
On large social housing estates, the caretaker not only performs a number of everyday management tasks but he is also in the front line to receive, help out, listen and reassure.
Are flowers in municipal flower beds there for people to pick a free bunch as a present? Analysing different customs together develops a mutual qualification process.
Although the Cité des Tarterêts in Corbeil-Essonnes has been widely criticized for its violence and degradation, it is nontheless a hospitable place in the eyes of the field observer. The inhabitants are divided between those who would like to go and live elsewhere and those who mark their attachement to the neighbourhood. The negative image portrayed by the media becomes a means of self-affirmation for these people, which is further strengthened when they have the task of welcoming even more disadvantaged newcomers.
From renewal to settlement.
For severals decades, the City State of Singapore has been attracting an influential professional elite due to financial investments by Japan, the United States and Europe. A new form of housing, the condominium, has been introduced, which dots the landscapes, with tower blocks crammeld with amenities. For the past few years, the dwellings have been coveted by local middle classes whereas the elites have been migrating towards new formats midway betwenn those of an apartment and a hotel.
Why only think in terms of the functionality of a city and refuse to see the form that creates its uniqueness, that transforms it into a good place to come together and to remember? The city thus countenanced invites the footloose wanderer to become a chronicler and the engineer to turn into a poet.
In the Age of the Enlightenment, embellishment projects aimed to make Paris a welcoming, easy-to-decipher metropolis for foreigners, workers and visitors. At the entry to the city is intended to edify the visitor’ gaze. More than an animated theatre, project-makers conceive the city as a serie of scenes in which the city projects an image to the visitor passing through and to the everyday inhabitant.
In the inter-war period, furnished rooms - mid way between a hotel and ordinary accomodation - were a popular form of dwelling suitable for housing migrants. They are much fewer in number since the 160’s but they have been replaced by accomodation that does not fully satisfy demand for cheap, temporary housing.
In the city, it is commonplace for a motorist to sit in a car but it is more of a problem for a pedestrian. The presence of solid public seats in Paris as the end of the XIXth century, when most people tended to walk everywhere, has given way to mistrust of useful urban furniture for the poorest. Seats that were once large and intended for the general public have recently been required to conform to increasingly restrictive building standards and usages. However, the species does not seem to be an endangered one.
Young professionals are seeking to get a hold on a city already satured with the intentions of others.
Just opposite the Stade Vélodrome, rollerblades skate and perform along with other peaceful activities. But weekly downtown get-togethers of rollerbladers are temporarily restoring aggressiveness and the confrontation between this activity and normal self-propelled modes.
Youth music is developing values of autonomy, nonconformism and contestation that are difficult to integrate into the measured public space of provincial cities. Discussions with local authorities for permits or grants epitomise their musical differences as being popular vs elite, barbaric vs civilisez, marginal vs commercial. It takes some time for the protagonists to overcome their different viewpoints and engage in contractualised strategies for presence in the public space.
Public parks in Japan emerged with the Age of Edo as leisure areas for the people, which have multiplied in the city cores with modern urban planning. Since the economic crisis, many of the homeless have found refuge there, in peaceful, shared occupancy with passer-bys, families with children, lovers and pensioners. Their long-term establisment in these place has led park managers to seek the opinion of researchers who specialise in culture in the gardens.
The father of New Yord at the turn of the XXth century multiplied park and garden development in the city, under the influence of social reformers and in order to compete with big European cities. As the large large parks were intended to enable the well-to-do to go walking, small squares were provided in the popular neignbourhoods to cater for immigrant children. The photographer, Jacob Riis, documented this action. The aim was to give these young people a new local identity, symbolised by the air and flowers, and based on the demolition of the most illfamed parts of the ghettos.