This study tests the potential of a facilitated action-research approach in participative urban design projects to act as catalysts in countering social violence in distressed quarters of France. It evaluates the FAR programme (Formation Action Recherche pour la coproduction et gestion des espaces publics) in the region Nord – Pas de Calais as a local strategy for achieving the national objectives of social reform – as envisioned by President Mitterand and encapsulated in the national Politique de la Ville. Significantly, this study identifies the critical importance of positive political will at all levels in achieving the goals of the Politique de la Ville, and it provides a possible explanation for the failure of previous attempts to engage residents effectively. It also indicates possible future strategies for planning participative projects where they are intended to promote integrated social, urban and economic development.
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Acronyms and Key-words: French to English translation xxix
Chapter 1 Evolution of the Politique de la Ville as a national polit