numéro 105 novembre 2008Thème libre
The urban geography of Caracas is largely charactised by the spatial contiguity between rich and poor neighbourhoods. This implies a need for ordinary and institutional management of different forms of cohabitation and segregation:territorial markers, social norms, indicators of strangerhood and proximity, together with recognition processes. Our study focuses on the process or urbanisation in wich living in proximity to serious inequalities puts the concepts of common ownerhip and the community to the test. Looking at the case of a gated community and the slum that grows up beside it, wht processes do the homogenisation of housing (the production of residential space) and of "styles of living" (urban use and pratices) have in common?
When the old city of Cairo was listed as a Unesco Wordl Heritage Site in 1979, the well surrounding the city couldn’t be left in the state it was in, buried beneath a mass of rubble. The Aga Khan Trust for Culture decided to open a huge urban park, aimed at forming a bridge between ancients and modern. It was designed as a place where the poorer residents of the old city could come for a breath of fresh air and to get a taste of new lifestyles. In reality, it is the young and well-to-do population of the city tht comes to the park, which is accessible by car from the other side. The differences between the park amenities and the poverty that continues to characterise the old city beside are staggering. From this side of the park, a barbed wire fence separates the city from the park.
The traditional Land of Welcome, swept up in the tide of globalisation and with the process of metropolisation now well underway, as demonstrated in its new urban planning master scheme, Amman is a young capital city where collective identity, living together, citadinité (belonging to and in a city) and, on a broader scale, the Nation, are now, more than ever before, sensitive issues. While for many years, puvlc space was a means for the Bristih Mandate and then the Hashemite authorities to promote a common "shared" sense of identity, its representional function is now being challenged by the increasing number of privately-owned collective spaces. Shopping malls, bars, restaurants and luxury hotels - the capital’s new urban development plans are primarily based on this form of closed collective space.
While the violence of football hooligans during and after matches continues to be widely covered in the Press, a new type of fan has emerged, known as football Casuals, bent on fighting with their opponents without the risk interrupted by the police. Meetings are arranged far away form the stadium, purely for the purpose of fighing, Sociological analysis this new phenomenon reveals that Casuals come from more affluent backgrounds than the traidtional football hooligan, one that views violence as an art form, a way of asserting a certain virile glamour, also cultivated through typical Casual fashion. In these circles, the city is no more than a depolitised battleground, a backdrop for violence.
Les halles, in Paris, is an area that is very popular with young people from a wide variety of backgrounds. Their use of is area is particular, highly diversified, constantly changing and little is known about it. As part of the renovation plans of Les Halles, a research study was funded by the City of Paris into the representations and uses made of Les Halles by young people form the Paris suburbs. Dis they fell that Les Halles was, in their eyes and in terms of what it represents to them, a special place? This question leads naturally to another : if it is special, is this related to their geographical origins? According to the young people, the differences that are significant in Les Halles are related more to questions of style.
A form of "sociological project management" developed by the authors was used in the design and construction of the new "Jardins d’Eole" park in Paris’Flandres-Aubervilliers quarter. What questions are raised by this professional approchoach in lignt of the urban and word environnments? For this project, what would "ccoperative ethnography", as proposed by the sociologist, Isaac Joseph, entail. Compromises had to be sought and negociated with the project owners and the lanscape designer, highlighting the economic and structural constraints affecting the influence of the Social Sciences in implementinf the project. In the end, this project illustrates the importance of local social dynamics in the co-production and running of the park. It also demonstrates the potential interest and the advantages of drawing of the Social Sciences to focus greater attention on the uses and management skills implemented by local residents and the park agents upstream of implementation.
Various studies have shown that there was a serious safety issue affecting pedestrians, and especially children, on large housing estates. This study, based on analysis of four neighbourhoods undergoing urban renovation, prior to development work, going ahead, therefore set out to identify the links between pedestrian safety in these neignbourdhoods and the areas in question in terms of road layout, the local population and the use of public space. It became apparent that the original functional design of such neighbourhoods is out of step with current public spatial pratices. The predominant use of the car induced by urban spatial design is now causing safety problems for pedestrians, which, once identified, can be taken into account in renovation projects.
Based on analysis of a "residents as experts" initiative developed within the framework of an urban renewal project for the area, entitled "The photography and sociology worshop:developing a shared point of view of West Echirolles", the author presents the interest in and advantages of enabling local residents to act as experts. In particular, and this well in advance of project implementation, this initiative made it possible to gather local knowledge of daily life in the area, to enhance general expert analysis of an area, define problems and solutions in detail, and enable a local resident stakeholder, on an equal footing with the other stakeholders, to argue his case and be involved in developing a shared point of view on the state and the future of the area.
Whereas on the national scale and across the European continent, the functions of a city ara usually connected to their size, this is far from the case in this comparative study of cities on a global scale. A city’s degree of globalisation is measured in terms of the extent on interaction between the major firms based there and all the urbanised territories in the world. London is tus the city with the greatest number of such interactions, and this is why it i used as the benchmark against which other megalopolises are rated (over 5 million inhabitants). The rate of global connectivity generally correlates better with all other indicators of national institutional development than the size of the megapolis. Moreover, in every contry, the intellectual and business capital is the city that develops the highest level of global connectivity, even if it is not the political capital.
Environmental assessment tools for buildings are rapidly being developed in many countries. They all claim to assess the environmental quality or the systainability of buildings, according to rating systems that award a maximum number of points for factors that are sustainable in one way or another. For the time being, however, there is no consensus, in terms of criteria and indicators, on the meaning of the words "green" or "sustainable". What are the existing indicators designed to assess? Three assessment tools were analysed:America’s LEED-NC, Britain’s Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) and Sweden’s EcoEffect. They all cover three main areas of assessment : energy, inerior environment, and use of materials and waste management. Nonetheless, their contents differ. These tools were compared in terms of their aims, content and the manner in which the various items are incoporated. They were tested on a new building several storeys hihg. The results of their being applied to this building differ, thus raising the question of how to define genuinely effective assessment tools.
Available statistics mean that we can characterise malicious damage in terms of its extremely high concentraion in time and space. The approach taken by insurance companies supplements and confirms that taken by the French Ministy of Interior. The general feeling of insecurity that reigns in thse areas discourages people and businesses from settling there and is a factor in creating social imbalance in urban areas. Thanks to their role in pooling the cost of damages, insurance companies can help to reduce such problems. The market system that applies higher insurance premiums in high-risk areas, on the other hand, may serve to aggravate social imbalances.
The economist, Richard Florida, developed a theory according to which the new design professions and commercial creative work would rescue cities severely hit by de-industrialisation from decline. This certainly rings true in the case of Saint-Etienne. Nonetheless, the proximity of Lyon, the marked tendency for many of Saint-Etienne’s design professionnal to seek their anormalous leisure and consumer activities elsewhere, casts doubt on whether such a vision really is appropriate in this instance. The concerns of design professionals about the quality of urban life are in fact exclusive, implying a high risk of segregation, or are widely shared across the city and not specific in that case. Global theories do not always apply at local level.
The problems the need to be dealt with on a daily basis in Naples and other cities in Campania insofar as waste management is concerned, are common in every region in Italy. If the situation is not quite so dramatic in Sicily, it is because a state of emergency was declared in Year 2000. The process of rationalising waste management has met with strong oppostiion on the part of local inhabitants, mainly because they do not see why they should pay to clean up the waste produced by tourist, even though tourism is a major source of revenue for the country. Nonetheless, tourists should be spared the view and the smell of open landfill dumps, still the most common form of waste management.
In this study, land use pratices, whether they be private or in response to public spatial planning operations, are analysed to reveal the place of illegal immigrants in the city. Their omnipresence within the town of Mamouzdou highlights the fact that their illegal status is linked to immigration regulations, even if this entails a certain social marginalisation, amply illustrated by the insecurity of their work and housing situation. When the authorities in charge of spatial planning policy carry out a "regularisation" operation in a neibourhood, evicting illegal immigrants prior to redevelopment work, this in realtiy enables a minority of Mayotte natives to be granted land to builde on, an increasing rarity in the agglomeration. Lastly, between the autorities and the natives of Mayotte, the illegal immigrants’ role seems to be that of a balancing variable.
What know-how, cognitive tools and pratices are brought into play by players who are recognised as experts in producing the city? In spite of the grip of ideology and single Party rule in the former GDR, reconstructing professional systems and networks entrenchd in the institutions, and that were developed under the previous regime, plays a determining role in the cycles of innovation and continuity involved in urban planning. Analysing sector-specific configurations and sharing knowledge and operational tools leads to a comparision with the French situation durign the "Trente glorieuses" (the thirty glorious years of high economic growth from 1945 to the end of the energy crisis in 1974), presented at the end of the article.