• Project

Return of the economy to the city-center


Over the course of the “Trente glorieuses” (“Glorious Thirty”), the Fordist urban development model led to urban sprawl and peripheral development, and thus to the emergence of the suburbs. In a binary, center/periphery relationship, this model produced a functional, infrastructural, service and budgetary impoverishment of urban centers.

Starting in the 1980s, however, a real spatial reversal appeared: communities, activities and capital investments slowly returned to the city, timidly at first, in the form of residential and/or commercial gentrification. This movement then accelerated and spread in the 2000s, resulting in a more nuanced outcome in 2019: residential urban peripheries appear to be the primary losers of the last two decades of planning and public policies. France’s “yellow vest” crisis appears as a possible manifestation of this outcome.

Mindful of both current events and long-term processes, La Fabrique de la Cité intends to explore the following three dimensions of the return of the economy to the city (center):

  • The spatialization of the phenomenon, accompanying urban dynamics, and their key urban paradigms;
  • The political economics of the return of the economy to the city’s political economics, and the associated capitalistic models;
  • The terms and conditions of the transition from the Fordist to the post-Fordist urban model, its political factors and the resulting social tensions.

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