We hope you didn't believe this "fake news", because it's April 1st and viola, this is our April fool's joke !
But if you've come here, maybe you're interested in the subject. If so, let's change the "ni-ni" to "yes-yes" and a desirable future.
A city built for its habitants
The city of Lille is facing structural challenges such as a persistent lack of student housing, a long waiting line for social housing and a large number of homeless people. Although the current building policy provides for social housing in new construction projects, this is not enough to meet the growing demand. Moreover, the clustering of social housing in these projects increases the value of flats instead of a robust and supportive urban fabric. A sustainable and equitable urban planning policy - which meets the needs of the inhabitants - must include small-scale construction and intelligent densification without sacrificing the remaining green spaces. This should include putting empty flats on the market, renovating the existing building stock and adapting it primarily to real demand.
The city could encourage a more sustainable approach, helping small construction and renovation companies to develop in the metropolis and demanding sustainable architecture instead of welcoming large-scale construction developers - desperate for the last remaining plots.
A city built in a sustainable way
Le prix croissant des matières premières et des taux d'intérêt sont autant de raisons de repenser notre manière de construire. Plutôt que de démolir et de reconstruire, la construction durable et la réutilisation des matériaux existants devenons désormais une alternative et ainsi qu’une nécessité en Europe. En effet, chaque brique produite génère environ 0.9kg de CO2 (l’équivalent de rouler en voiture pour 3.5km), plus que du béton avec 0.75kg de CO2 par kilogramme produite.
It is therefore important to avoid demolishing existing structures and throwing away valuable materials. This is an approach that has already been recognised and awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2021. We should focus on reuse and recovery of materials to renovate and rehabilitate our neighbourhoods. This will give new life to existing spaces while reducing the environmental impact of our actions. It is entirely possible to revitalise our existing neighbourhoods rather than build new artificial ones. By opting for sustainable construction and the reuse of materials, we can create innovative and environmentally friendly living spaces.
A response to rising rents
Building affordable housing is an issue for many cities, and Lille is no exception. Looking elsewhere, we can find inspiring examples of what is possible: Vienna has a public housing stock of 220,000 flats to lower the level of rents (€5.45 per square metre), in the UK, requisitioning empty homes for rent increases the number of homes available, and in Berlin and Amsterdam, measures are being taken to discourage speculation with real estate.
La construction de logements à des prix abordables est un enjeux pour de nombreuses villes, et Lille n'est pas une exception. En regardant ailleurs, nous pouvons trouver des exemples inspirants de ce qui est possible : Vienne dispose d’une parc de logements publics de 220.000 appartements pour baisser le niveau de loyers (5,45€ par mètre carré), au Royaume-Uni, la réquisition des logements vides pour location permet d'augmenter le nombre des logements disponible et à Berlin et Amsterdam, des mesures pour décourager la spéculation avec des biens immobiliers.
Adapting to climate change
Our government has recently taken into account the need to anticipate a global temperature increase of up to 4% in France. Although we can expect prolonged droughts and increasingly frequent heat waves, we have the capacity to take action to manage the urban climate and reduce the risk of heat islands and water shortages in Lille and the region
Practices such as open land development, reducing concrete covers and planting trees (not in pots) can help moderate temperatures and capture rainwater to recharge groundwater. Green spaces such as meadows and urban agriculture projects can provide refuges and help build our resilience to climate change. Although these measures require space, they can be integrated into urban construction and development plans.
Regional and financial cohesion
It is important to ensure that our city and metropolis develop in a sustainable and balanced way in the long term. A growing population forces us to invest in our traffic and public transport infrastructure as well as in our facilities such as schools, nurseries and health centres. The abolition of the taxe d'habitation - the main revenue of municipalities - forces us to rethink our public financing, because more housing does not mean more public revenue to finance the necessary infrastructure and equipment.
Our city and metropolis are ideally situated to take advantage of the proximity of the border and the Eurometropole region. We need to work on balancing the regional hubs from Calais and Dunkirk to Douai, Béthune, Valenciennes and Amiens to create a strong and resilient region instead of concentrating all activities in Lille.
We are fortunate to live in a dynamic city and metropolis, but we are aware that our urban policies are not up to the challenges of the 21st century. We are convinced that we can turn this situation into an opportunity by showing courage and innovation in our municipal and metropolitan planning. By focusing on a more sustainable approach to urban planning, we can create a more resilient, greener and more prosperous city and metropolis for generations to come. We look forward to working with all stakeholders to make this vision a reality for our city of Lille and the Metropolis.
Updated March 25th, 2023.