These city centers that want to renew themselves

The Basics As poverty has settled in many city centers, including major metropolitan areas, they want to regain their attractiveness. In the middle, the Cœur de ville program is increasingly contributing to this.

The idea that the metropolitanization of France would lead to large, rich cities and poorer peripheries does not reflect reality, which is much more complex and heterogeneous, as just shown by a round table that was organized in the Senate this month by regional planning and Sustainable Development Committee on “Planning, equality, territorial cohesion: how can metropolitanization and balanced territorial development be reconciled?” “.” Poverty is highest in the centers of large cities, in the suburbs it decreases sharply and in the suburbs it increases, that is, in the areas outside the influence of the cities, which represent less than 7% population. After all, it is rural areas closest to the centers of poverty in large cities, ”explained the geographer Jacques Lévy, director of the Department of Spatial Intelligence at the Polytechnic University of Hauts-de-France.

Action Cœur de Ville DDM

The residents’ desire to have a house with a garden instead of a small apartment – especially during the narrowness of 2020 – the struggles of downtown small businesses facing large outskirts and now facing e-commerce giants, the aging and bad Building maintenance and vice versa, the creation of huge activity zones on the outskirts has often left city centers – at least some of them – abandoned, derelict, and impoverished.

“Because of supermarkets and platforms like Amazon, shopping centers are deserting. It is a phenomenon that exists and that is compounded by the crisis we are experiencing. It is a social and ecological value to have lively city centers, ”said Esther Duflo, Nobel Economics Prize 2019 last November.

However, this widespread observation is by no means inevitable and a number of local elected officials have fortunately begun renovations, some of which have been labeled “Action Coeur de ville”.

This national operation, launched three years ago, reached half-time in the middle of this month and, despite a difficult year 2020 (postponement of local elections, arrival of new teams, consequences of socio-economic aspects of the health crisis), it seems to be reaching an interesting speed of travel. . A year that has also restored the attractiveness of medium-sized cities, as several surveys have shown (see below). “Action coeur de ville has played an important role in this dynamic for more than three years. On an unprecedented scale with 222 cities involved, this support program, launched by the government in 2017, enables hundreds of elected officials to build their territorial project as closely as possible to the realities and needs of their residents. And the achievements are there: revitalized city centers, renovated apartments and public spaces, upgraded heritage, etc. that shape our country every day, ”says Jacqueline Gourault, Minister for Regional Cohesion and Relations with Local Authorities.

“The year 2021 will be a crucial year for the deployment of Action cœur de ville, with the dual aim of acceleration and expansion. Acceleration, because after the so-called initialization phase for developing local projects, their completion now enables all support mechanisms to be fully mobilized; and reinforcement through the new France Relance actions, in particular to support local businesses and reduce urban wastelands, ”explains Prefect Rollon Mouchel-Blaisot, director of the national action center of the city program.

On January 1, 2021, 2.1 billion euros were committed

The results of the program underline the extent to which it results from a transversal public policy in all areas and how diverse and varied the financing offer is for communities that want to carry out projects. As early as January 1, 2021, 2.1 billion euros were committed from the 5 billion funds planned by 2022. This sum has already been reflected in more than 3,000 specific measures that have been introduced over the past three years.
The ministry also underscores the program’s ability to respond to the challenges of the relaunch with new partnerships and new tools such as ORTs (Territorial Revitalization Operations).
So many actions that are bearing fruit in revitalizing the city centers.