Work Task 4

Living the high-rise: new paradigms of urban space, new lifestyles (2018-2019)

Objectives: In this final empirical task we explore the way residential high-rises are lived in and out by residents in Lyon and Sao Paulo. Daily experiences of high-rise living are assessed in publicly or privately owned residential towers in each city. Internal public as well as domestic spaces in the tower, but also social interactions between the building and the neighborhood, and the city beyond are the focus of the task. We aim here at confronting narratives of planners, architects, politicians on the one side, and practices and narratives of ordinary people on the other side. Person in charge: Bianca Botea (CREA, anthropologist) + Post-doctoral student + MA students (internships). with Loïc Bonneval (CMW, sociologist), Louise Dorignon (PhD candidate, Université Lyon2, geographer), sociologist (Richard Nordier, Agence d’Urbanisme de Lyon), architects (Lucas Pereira, Marília Reis Sé and Maíra Daitx, IAU_USP, PhD and Master students), architect (Manoel Alves, IAU-USP), philosopher (Ruy Sardinha, IAU – USP). Methods: Explorations of experiences in high-rise living in 4 residential towers (2 in Lyon and 2 in Sao Paulo) are based on the gathering and analysis of data on the daily practices of residents, the internal layout of the flats and tower, and the morphological as well as functional contexts that surround the tower. Data on daily experiences will come principally from an ethnographical approach based on biographical interviews, oral histories of the residents, urban walks with residents and planners/politicians, mental maps and participant observation, to develop life-cycle and rhythm analyses of their daily experiences and sociabilities.

WT4.1. Social interactions and avoidance /separation and the high-rise development 

The first subtask intends to produce knowledge on experiences of the everyday life of residents in the architecture of the High-rise development: the interactions between social practices and socio-technical features of the environment (flat, building) and the wider neighborhood. Hypotheses. the transformation of public space is based on the production of a controlled and thematized space that lacks in energy, intensity and density. As such, a space that even of public domain is not targeted to spontaneity and togetherness, but to promote a conviviality of consumption among specific groups and activities. The second hypothesis is built on the case of Sao Paulo and assumes that high-rise living exacerbates the substitution of social divisions by lifestyle divisions.

Methods : We investigate the morphological devices of organization and control of high-rise developments at two scales. First in the development: devices that limit access and other morphological types of separation between public and private spaces or between internal and external spaces, uses of condominium spaces…). Secondly, in the wider neighborhood, where we examine practices generated by the construction of new residential high-rises. At both scales, social practices are generated or transformed: separations, avoidances, conflicts and contestations, or, on the contrary, various practices of integrative sociabilities. We then study the emergence and reproduction of new high-rise lifestyles in new high-rise developments: setting of balconies and green spaces in the private or condominium common spaces, presence/absence of appropriation and investment of the condominium common spaces, sport and other leisure activities in the common condominium spaces. The approach is diachronic, since we assess the differences between social practices generated by high-rise living of ancient neighborhoods (i.e. high-rise public housing) and compare them with newer ones.

Milestone WT4.1: Gathering and structuring data on the relationships between residents’ practices and the socio-technical context of the residential high-rise development. Assessment of Lifestyles in new developments compared to older ones.

WT4.2. Participation and engagement in the community

We examine the conditions enabliong the emergence of new inclusive pratices, through forms of urban participation and solidarities in residential high-rise developments, both in old social housing and in new condomiums. Hypothesis. Already tested in Lyon (La Duchère), the hypothesis is based on the capacity of high-rise housing to produce material, symbolical, and political spaces capable of enabling social and political inclusiveness (solidarities and participation), although they had not been planned that way.

Methods : The practices of attachment and participation of ordinary people in these developments are analyzed: networks of solidarity and urban citizenship (institutional or classical forms of participation through associations, NGO’s or more informal and infra-political engagements (co-owners actions in the neighborhood spaces, different other forms of “ordinary citizenship”: gardening, etc.). The similarities and differences between various urban actors are then studied: inhabitants, urban planners, politicians, other professional actors working in the neighborhood, actors which also use/create urban space. The dynamics of these forms of attachment and citizen engagement will be studied in a diachronic analysis, to monitor the changes between the solidarities of the ancient high-rise developments (council housing) and the new residential high-rise develoments. For Lyon, La Duchère (1960) would be exemplary of an old high- rise council estate that could be compared with Bouygues’ new high-rise quarter in Zac des Girondins (7th arrondissement).

Milestone WT4.2: Gathering and structuring data on diachronic and synchronic ways of participation and engagement in an urban community

Deliverables: providing a stabilized assessment of high-rise living with regard to their environment, and an analysis of high-rise residents’ participation and engagement in the light of urban inclusiveness. Risks: difficulty to access some residential high-rises. Possible fall-back solutions: using the connections of the local partners and of the first interviewees.


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