Patrimoine, développement durable et habitat au sein des secteurs sauvegardés (Heritage, Sustainable Development and Social Diversity: what is the place of housing and the inhabitant in urban preservation areas in France?)

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This paper looks at the relationship between heritage protection and housing and social diversity in so-called Preservation Areas (‘les secteurs sauvegardes’) in historic centres in French cities. An important turning point in heritage protection in France was the ‘Malraux Act’ of 1962, establishing preservation areas in the historic centres in 104 cities and towns of different sizes, one of which, of course, is Tours. This Act and subsequent laws and decrees have had a major positive impact with regard to its main objective. It was essentially a planning law aimed at preserving historic city centres with the use of use of planning tools, such as the Plan Local d’Urbanisme (PLU), and financial incentives such as tax exemption and state and local subsidies. The result was that these areas improved radically from the general post-war image of unhealthy, shabby areas to architecturally and aesthetically pleasant and economically buoyant areas, with white-collar, middle-income professional classes well represented and successful cultural and commercial activities, especially from tourism: gentrification and ‘touristification’ with a good social diversity. However, gradually in the course of time, the stringent regulations for the physical preservation of these areas, often rather uncoordinated from different ministries and regional and local authorities, because of their complexity and expense, began to have more negative impacts.
Sustainability in heritage protected areas : Book of Proceedings of the 5th AESOP European Urban Summer School Tours, France, from 1st – 8th September 2014
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