Parisian eco-districts: low energy and affordable housing?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


This paper examines how policies and practices for affordable housing in Paris, especially ‘green’ housing for the poor, are being subverted to retain or attract the middle class: the ‘greentrification’ of lower-class neighbourhoods. From the 1960s onward, many middle- and working-class households have left Paris due to de-industrialization and the city’s high housing costs. To bring these middle classes back, the municipality initiated a policy calling for increased social diversity, using social housing as its main policy tool. In France the provision of public housing is legally mandated, and compared with international standards, the income ceilings for gaining access to it are high. Thus, municipalities may pursue urban renovation and construct social housing for the middle class to replace substandard buildings occupied by low-income populations. The Paris municipality has established ‘green’ residential eco-districts known as ‘eco-quartiers’. In the national eco-district programme, the neighbourhoods must meet environmental performance criteria, show potential for economic development, and provide social and functional diversity. Thus, housing location and price must fit the needs of the existing residents. However, most ‘green’ subsidized housing in Paris is for the middle class. Social diversity has become a means of redistribution: more middle class and fewer poor people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)636-652
Number of pages17
JournalBuilding Research and Information
Issue number6
StatePublished - 18 Aug 2018


  • France
  • affordable housing
  • communities
  • eco-neighbourhood
  • gentrification
  • public policy
  • social diversity
  • social housing
  • urban politics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction


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