Demolition of Sage Towers in Passaic: “We don’t want to leave”, residents and architect advocate for rehabilitation

Demolition of Sage Towers in Passaic: “We don’t want to leave”, residents and architect advocate for rehabilitation

HASlbertine has a lot on his heart. For more than forty years, he has lived in the town of Sage, Passaic. For anything in the world, she would leave her apartment in Tower 6, which is about to be demolished. Even if she knows there are social problems, safety or unsanitary concerns, she doesn’t care about the negative image this massive tower reflects in the collective mind and in the eyes of the municipality. The city wants to demolish parts of towers 3, 6 and 9 and building 11 (373 apartments) to rehabilitate the entire district, one of the poorest in the Bordeaux metropolis. This is where she has lived most of her life and she has no desire to accept the proposed rehousing…

HASlbertine has a lot on his heart. For more than forty years, he has lived in the town of Sage, Passaic. For anything in the world, she would leave her apartment in Tower 6, which is about to be demolished. Even if she knows there are social problems, safety or unsanitary concerns, she doesn’t care about the negative image this massive tower reflects in the collective mind and in the eyes of the municipality. The city wants to demolish parts of towers 3, 6 and 9 and building 11 (373 apartments) to rehabilitate the entire district, one of the poorest in the Bordeaux metropolis. This is where she has lived most of her life and has no desire to accept the accommodation offered by the town hall.

She took advantage of a meeting between the residents of the towers, supported by the National Housing Confederation (CNL) and Women’s Equality, and Christophe Hutin, a Bordeaux architect specializing in the rehabilitation of mass housing in the metropolis. On this Wednesday, June 12, several elected officials of the opposition and about forty people are present in this room of the Sage Social Center. “Why don’t I go?” My whole life is here and everything is nearby, tram, supermarket… I also have my health problems. I know that if I have a problem, I have the Saint-Martin Clinic not far away. And if I fall on the street, I know there will always be someone in Saige to pick me up, whether it’s Chinese, white or black. I am in good hands in this neighborhood because there is unity here. What else am I going to do? »

“Why don’t I go?” My whole life is here”

“lives in”

If 60% of people have already accepted the rehousing (as of April 24) and “75% expressed a desire to leave the tower”, according to the town hall, Albertine is not the only one who will demolish it. Tactics “make no sense”. “We don’t want to leave here, it hurts our hearts so much. If we are relocated, we want to stay in this neighborhood. We don’t understand why the town hall wants to demolish it when there is a lack of social housing and Many people are still sleeping on the street. Why destroy instead of renovating? », protested Annie and Carmen, residents of Tower 6 for thirty and fifty-three years.

Architect Christoph Hutin also thinks that while confirming that the urban renewal of the district initiated by the town hall is “necessary”, rehabilitating the towers would be more appropriate. “The demolition will cost 211 million euros. It is huge and it is not really ecological. With less public money, we can do better by renovating these towers which are in good condition. Yes, there are unsanitary apartments, poorly insulated, with poor connections and pipes or asbestos, but these are maintenance issues, not design. From a distance, you only see the tower, but inside there are lives, families, cultures and stories,” he explains.

“The demolition will cost 211 million euros. It is huge and it is not really ecological”

He presented the residents with several successful rehabilitation projects undertaken in the metropolis, including the Grand-Parc in Bordeaux (winner of the European Union Architecture Prize) and the city of Beautre in Marignac, where he convinced the municipality not to destroy anything. . “We see that even starting with a dilapidated building we can make something good that makes us want to live there again. »

Conservation of Popular Neighborhoods

But according to Passaic’s mayor, Frank Rennell, the demolition will restore more social diversity to the neighborhood and above all eliminate a “ghetto” that “acts as a deterrent because when social housing becomes available, it is offered to seven families first. Must find a buyer,” he said last October.


Residents met with architect Christoph Hutin on Wednesday June 12 in a room at the Sage Social Center.

N.L

“We have been neglecting the whole neighborhood for years, and as soon as it becomes unsanitary, we are surprised that no one wants to come there anymore. And it’s dishonest to say that we contribute to social diversity by removing social housing,” laments one resident. He adds, “Even by demolishing the buildings, we won’t solve the neighborhood’s social problems.” According to Christoph Hutin, “Grand “Before the park building was renovated, no one wanted to come. But as soon as it was rehabilitated, the requests for housing came back.”

The demolition project planned for 2026 has been approved by the Bordeaux Metropole. But residents most resistant to rehousing intend to band together to stop it. A new meeting is planned for September with Christoph Hutin. More than their apartment, they defend the entire social model of a working-class neighborhood. A popular political topic, closely followed by left-wing municipal protests.

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