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The excluded, regulators of public action - The limited standardization of urban space in the unhealthy and illegal districts of the french overseas departments

Marie Benzaglou 
Abstract : The housing shortage in France reveals the varied and specific forms of improper housing conditions. In the overseas departments, a great part of the population has occupied illegally a piece of land in order to build a dwelling, which generally does not respect the standards enacted by the State. The illegal and insalubrious districts of the overseas departments represent about 10% of the housings. Although some appeared more than 50 years ago, many of them remain still today and new sites continue to be created. Precarious housing, illegal occupation of the ground, exclusion of formal work, stigmatization by the rest of the city.... The inhabitants of the illegal and insalubrious districts of the overseas departments form part of the vast category of "excluded". This research raises the question of the role of "excluded" from formal housing in the construction of the public action. We studied the consequences of the confrontation of two very different systems of values on housing and on urban: the inhabitants of the unhealthy and illegal districts system, which gradually modelled their framework of life out of the constraints of the city planned and regulated, and that of the authorities which act on these districts, almost exclusively by the means of operation of resorption of the unhealthy habitat (RHI). The system of values of the inhabitants makes cohabitation of the material values: elements of comfort, space, flexibility of the expenditure related to housing; as well as intangible assets: an adequate localization of housing, the psychological safety of at home, the environment of the district. The system of values of the authorities which dominates is that of a planned, geometrical city, aired and sure at the same time on the physical and social level. The residences must meet the standards of healthiness and comfort enacted by the State. Other public actors, fewer, preach to respect the urban and social organization more unhealthy and illegal districts. But for the whole of the public actors, these districts are in a way or another "beyond standards". The authorities then try to standardize the space and the ways of life according to their own systems of values. This attempt to standardization generally induces a dysfunction of the public action: blocked projects, badly lived operations or presenting perverse effects... It results an adaptation from it from the operations during the public action, under the impulse of the inhabitants themselves. Standardization "is limited" by the inhabitants because they have particular sources and capacities to be made heard, and in particular capacity to mobilize itself collectively. These collective mobilizations induce a form of regulation of the public action. The two essential innovations brought by the inhabitants are that they become almost "partners" of the public action from now on automatically and that intangible assets of the habitat are accepted by the authorities and the operators. The capacity of regulation of the inhabitants thus brings to modify the public intervention initially envisaged and involves a specific local application of the right to housing.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, June 26, 2007 - 8:00:00 AM
Last modification on : Monday, October 19, 2020 - 11:09:13 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Thursday, September 30, 2010 - 8:13:51 PM


  • HAL Id : pastel-00002575, version 1



Marie Benzaglou. The excluded, regulators of public action - The limited standardization of urban space in the unhealthy and illegal districts of the french overseas departments. Humanities and Social Sciences. Ecole des Ponts ParisTech, 2006. English. ⟨pastel-00002575⟩



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