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Vacant building, Social hosting, Paris, Third places of solidarity

Les Grands Voisins Paris Publiée le 03.06.20

In a few words

Avenue Den­fert-Rochere­au in Paris. Saint-Vin­cent de Paul Hos­pi­tal is clos­ing its doors, the City takes over the site to devel­op new hous­ing. Before the work begins, there is a lag of sev­er­al years. It is in this con­text, and on the basis of the ques­tion “How to bold­ly and gen­er­ous­ly use a four hectare site tem­porar­i­ly avail­able in the heart of Paris?” that the Grands Voisins project was built. The emp­ty premis­es of the old hos­pi­tal first wel­comed home­less peo­ple, then crafts­men, asso­ci­a­tions or young struc­tures who set up their work­shops and offices there. We then opened the site to the pub­lic, with fam­i­ly and sports facil­i­ties, camp­ing, cater­ing, a con­fer­ence room, cul­tur­al activ­i­ties and artis­tic pro­gram­ming. The project quick­ly becomes a des­ti­na­tion, a very live­ly place where social, pro­duc­tive, com­mer­cial and cul­tur­al activ­i­ties coex­ist with inten­si­ty. When he arrives on site, the devel­op­er in charge of build­ing the future dis­trict pro­pos­es to extend the project as much as pos­si­ble in par­al­lel with the con­struc­tion sites, believ­ing that the social vital­i­ty pro­duced by the Grands Voisins con­tributes direct­ly to his urban devel­op­ment mis­sion.

The Grands Voisins project marks a turn­ing point in the his­to­ry of the asso­ci­a­tion. The size of the site allows the full range of our know-how to be expressed; the team is grow­ing; we set up the cen­tral bar La Lin­gerie to finance the fit­tings and activ­i­ties; we start pay­ing our­selves salaries; we dis­cov­er social work and build a rela­tion­ship of trust with our part­ners Aurore and Plateau Urbain.

Key information

2015 ‑2020

Site own­ers
Paris and Metrop­o­lis Amé­nage­ments, City of Paris
(for­mer­ly Assis­tance Publique des Hôpi­taux de Paris, then Etab­lisse­ment Pub­lic Fonci­er in Île-de-France)

In num­bers
60 pub­lic hours per week
Four mil­lion euros annu­al joint man­age­ment bud­get

Sea­son 1 :
20,000 m² of build­ings and 15,000 m² of out­door spaces, 250 struc­tures installed in the premis­es, 600 accom­mo­da­tion places, 4,000 vis­i­tors per day

Sea­son 2 :
10,000 m² of built space and 3,500 m² of out­door space, 140 struc­tures, 100 accom­mo­da­tion places, 1 day care cen­ter for asy­lum seek­ers, 4,000 vis­i­tors per day


Asso­ci­a­tion Aurore
Site man­age­ment, emer­gency accom­mo­da­tion, day care for asy­lum seek­ers, inte­gra­tion through employ­ment.

Plateau Urbain
Choice and man­age­ment of occu­pants of the premis­es and ani­ma­tion of their net­work, tech­ni­cal coor­di­na­tion

Paris & Métro­pole Amé­nage­ment
Devel­op­er of the city of Paris, own­er of the site

To remember

  • The soci­etal util­i­ty of the pos­si­bil­i­ty of occu­py­ing tem­porar­i­ly dis­used spaces in dense city cen­ters free of charge: emer­gency accom­mo­da­tion, social work, inex­pen­sive work­spaces …
  • The estab­lish­ment of coun­ters and cit­i­zen involve­ment sys­tems at the lev­el of a neigh­bor­hood.
  • The con­struc­tion of a place of cul­tur­al des­ti­na­tion, and mul­ti­ple artis­tic expe­ri­ences, acces­si­ble to the great­est num­ber.
  • Demon­stra­tion by expe­ri­ence in a tem­po­rary for­mat to inspire else­where.
  • The rich­ness and respon­sive­ness of a three-head­ed eco­nom­ic and man­age­ment mod­el, from dif­fer­ent pro­fes­sions
  • The mod­el’s resilience and its adapt­abil­i­ty to con­tem­po­rary changes and crises.

More information

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