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.