So­cial ex­per­i­ment

Living France - - The Essentials -

A dis­used hospi­tal in the heart of Paris has been trans­formed into a mini vil­lage as part of a ma­jor so­cial ex­per­i­ment to help vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple in the French cap­i­tal.

Known as Les Grands Voisins (Great Neigh­bours), the project has pro­vided hous­ing, busi­nesses, classes, work­shops and ac­tiv­i­ties in L’hôpi­tal St-Vin­cent-de-Paul in the 14th ar­rondisse­ment. Five years af­ter its cre­ation, it has be­come a hub for some 2,000 peo­ple, in­clud­ing home­less peo­ple and vul­ner­a­ble for­eign work­ers and sol­i­dar­ity or­gan­i­sa­tions.

The site is de­scribed by its cre­ators as an ‘ur­ban lab­o­ra­tory’ and a so­cial ex­per­i­ment in new ways of com­mu­nal liv­ing. Shared spa­ces in­clude ex­hi­bi­tion rooms, work­shops and La Lin­gerie café, while La Chauf­ferie, an ur­ban camp­site, pro­vides tents, wooden huts, dor­mi­to­ries and even ham­mocks that are avail­able to book from May to Oc­to­ber.

How­ever, the project is soon to come to an end, as the city of Paris has ac­quired the prop­erty for the cre­ation of a new eco neigh­bour­hood, which will pro­vide 600 homes. It’s be­lieved that con­struc­tion works for this project are due to start this year.

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