« High-rise living and the inclusive city » 

What capacity is left to produce an inclusive city, in the context of an accelerated verticalization of contemporary metropolises? At first sight, promoting a denser city would accommodate further growth, provide housing for the people while limiting urban sprawl. That is how densification is justified in many cities across the world. But in a context where regulatory capitalism and entrepreneurial municipalities are participating in the creation of the most favorable conditions for developers to control the urban space, verticalization, and particularly residential verticalization is questionable. If office towers have gained attention recently, the vast majority of vertical developments are residential, a phenomenon having far reaching consequences on the daily life of residents and urban communities. Verticalization, if not new, is currently happening in a very different context than after 1945, when Charte d’Athènes and modernism where the dominant planning principles. Today, residential high-rises are more than architectural solutions, as much as office towers, they are commodities in a global market where capital flows are fixed by developers and municipalities. By shedding a light on the making and the experience of residential high-rises, we assess the contemporary transformation of the city and test it against inclusiveness. Aiming at the construction of a transdisciplinary theoretical framework (architecture, geography, sociology, anthropology), we intend to critically question the inclusiveness of contemporary urban production, through the residential high-rise phenomenon, in Lyon and Sao Paulo. Inclusiveness, as defined by the UN (economic; social; political; cultural and symbolical1) is our benchmark, both a state and a process; it is a result and a condition for an egalitarian/equitable urban environment. It lies in the making and in the experience and imaginary of the city.

Framed by the above theoretical framework, the project is rooted in case studies, enabling to reveal different types of local-global negotiations in the making of the city. In order to deliver the most, Lyon and Sao Paulo where the partners of the project are based (USP and Université Lyon2, with collaborations with practitioners such as the Municipal Agencies of both cities), have been selected as the core case studies, because of their specific residential high-rise history. The project is thus both international (experts from abroad will be invited) and deeply locally rooted.

1 For the United Nation, an inclusive city is defined as follows: « An Inclusive City promotes growth with equity. It is a place where everyone, regardless of their economic means, gender, race, ethnicity or religion, is enabled and empowered to fully participate in the social, economic and political opportunities that the cities have to offer ». (UNHABITAT 2010, p.1)