A Tour of French Communities and Projects

When I left the metro station in Vanves, south of Paris, I discovered a pretty, modern and flowery city. Just a few steps from the station, I found the porch I had been told to look for, and crossed beneath it to find the participative habitat where I would spend a week. It was a large building, nestled between the wall of the cemetery and the surrounding houses, wrapped around a tree-lined garden. Suzanne, a young retired woman, welcomed me and gave me a tour of the property.

La Fonderie is a project begun in 1984. This building was first a factory, bought by a developer forced to buy it as part of a lot, but who didn’t know what to do with it. He was delighted when the families (first 3, soon 10) offered to buy it so they could do some work and make their participatory housing project a reality.

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