Jouy-en-Josas elections – Marie-Hélène Aubert’s election: a clear vote

The Jouy-en-Josas inhabitants, in their sovereignty, chose: the candidate of Jouy-en-Josas won the elections with a very clear lead, winning two thirds of the votes against a third for her opponent, Grégoire Ekmedje. Congratulations to the Mayor and we wish her to manage well this town. Because of her political responsibilities as vice-president of the Departmental Council of Yvelines, let us hope that she can sufficiently delegate to Gilles Curti, her first deputy in the Jouy-en-Josas City Council, who truly lives in Versailles (the nearby big and bourgeois town).

According to Contrib’City, these elections, tinted by more than 50% of abstention probably because of the anxiety linked to the crowned virus[1]corona means crown in Latin, clearly show that the inhabitants of Jouy-en-Josas opted for a type of town planning rather than another: a densification of the city center, partly floodable, rather than a distribution of new housing throughout the municipal territory, based on existing buildings and therefore on rehabilitation programs (refurbishment) or renovation (demolition-construction).

This dynamic of densification of city centers has existed for at least ten years as a directive from the French State in order to combat peri-urban territories from splitting up. In parallel, due to the lack of social housing in the main agglomerations of the French hexagon, the national executive wanted a plan to build public HLMs (Habitations à Loyers Modérés is to say social housing), but also private ones through the rehabilitation of substandard housing often located in the city center. The Parliament had voted the Solidarité et Renouvellement Urbain (Solidarity and Urban Renewal) Act[2]Dated from 13th December 2000) which required, under penalty of fines, 20% of social housing in cities located in agglomerations of more than 50,000 inhabitants((In the Ile-de-France Region, even villages, that is to say municipalities with less than 2000 inhabitants, are subject to this law, as long as their population is greater than or equal to 1500 souls.. This percentage then had to be increased to reach a quarter of the dwellings[3]Duflot I Act, January 18th, 2013. However, municipalities with few HLMs were – and still are – reluctant to build significantly more. Anyway, it is possible – it is a hypothesis from Contrib’City – that this decision gradually directs French cities towards the model of the American town planning of the 1950s and 1960s: a dense and popular down-town [5] on the one hand and bourgeois outskirts [6] on the other, with, Oh irony!, a continuation of this inevitable peri-urban dispersal [7]. Jouy-en-Josas seems to be following this path. A film evokes the atmospheres of these American city centers: the famous West Side Story released on screens in 1961 and whose action takes place in Manhattan, that is to say in the heart of New York.

So, some members of the government or top ranking civil servants could say to CC: yes, but that was not the spirit of the SRU Act; the latter aimed at a mixed population at the scale of the commune or district. Certainly, but Contrib’City’s experience shows that it is often the elected officials who speak the most about social diversity who live the most in the bourgeois districts (like the new majority who lives mainly on the very pleasant hillsides of Jouy), with their children in prestigious private or public high schools (Hoche high school, or lycée, in Versailles, for example). It is not because an Act is voted that it corresponds to the spirit of the society: if the new mayor had announced that Jouy-en-Josas had reached the famous social housing quota (25%) because the city ​​council had launched the construction of several hundreds social dwellings, would it have won the elections? During her speech on Wednesday March 11, Marie-Hélène Aubert reminded that it was the student rooms on the HEC Business School campus that had saved the day. The SRU Act wanted to establish a dynamic that the majority of municipalities and rather affluent French people did not want. The parade was quickly found: social housing will be established in the centers, flirtatious dwellings, gradually, will go to the chic suburbs.

Between the need to find accommodation – a vital necessity for all human beings – and the most homogeneous distribution possible between households, whatever their training and professional activity (including that linked to the political world), Contrib’City offers a third way. History has shown that in large French agglomerations, and especially in the Paris region, social circles do not mix or little (this is the whole theme of Renoir’s film “The great illusion”) and to “force” this reluctance only led to avoidance maneuvers and tax increases, or possibly to an exacerbation of tensions between the inhabitants. Professor Yves Grafmeyer, specialist in urban sociology, enlightens us on this subject: Depending on the case, spatial proximity can promote relationships as well as heighten tensions. […] On a practical level, we can also deduce that the social mix imposed from outside, for example by public authorities anxious to diversify the real estate operations planned on the same site, can have ambivalent effects compared to announced objectives of “combating segregation”[4]GRAFMEYER Yves, Sociologie urbaine, S.l., Armand Colin, 2005, p 41. For example, the social mix imposed by the British Parliament had led the London borough of Westsminster, in 2006, to a mixed situation: on the one hand the local management of social housing, like that of Lisson Green or Ebury Bridge, had led to a pleasant and perfectly integrated city life. On the other, the local Town Hall, but also tenants of private dwellings located in other districts, complained that tensions had increased, that the feeling of security had decreased. Finally, at the time, the responsible for housing in the Westminster borough denounced the fact that this type of measure distanced the middle classes who, as often, received too much income to have aid but nevertheless not enough to afford a living in one of the most expensive neighborhoods not only in London but also on the planet[5]In 2012, in comparable neighborhoods, London rents were twice as expensive as those of the city of Paris. Before Brexit, London was the first or second financial capital of the world.. These middle classes play an important role as a societal link between the different socio-professional strata of our megalopolises.

But then what is the third way proposed by Contrib’City? The site, which has been working on this issue for years, invites you to guess this third option by browsing through its previous articles or to wait a few days before discovering it.

It should be noted that this third way can really provide a solution in the management of vulnerabilities whether these are health (Corona virus), ecological (floods) and / or economic (sub-prime crisis).

If you think you have guessed this third way, you are cordially invited to write your hypotheses in the comments section.

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