Article reserved for subscribers
In the inner suburbs of Paris, garden cities with particularly elaborate architecture need to be renovated. But the work is expensive and the threat of demolition hovers. So the inhabitants, who denounce a desire for land speculation, mobilize to preserve the identity of the places.
At Sylvie Spekter, a few years ago, the‘water flowed through the sockets when it rained, a sink had come loose because the partition was rotten and a leak ended up ripping open a ceiling. Nouara K., 74, has stopped repainting her walls. Every winter, we had to start over when the water seeped through the wooden planks of the facade. However, Sylvie, now retired, assures him: “I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like living here.” These two residents of the Pierre-Semard estate, in Blanc-Mesnil (Seine-Saint-Denis) never considered moving. Like La Maladrerie, in Aubervilliers, Pierre-Semard is one of those historic garden cities and witnesses of a particular architectural past, today threatened by controversial renovation projects.
When Sylvie and Nouara learned, at the end of June, that the project to demolish part of the buildings had been abandoned, they opened the champagne. Because the sloping roofs, the oblique windows and the wooden pontoons of this city with the appearance of a mountain village, built in 1986, will remain in place. At the end of a mobile…