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The Olympic Village of Paris will be transformed into a new neighborhood

A choice to redevelop one of the poorest areas of the French capital

The Olympic Village of Paris will be transformed into a new neighborhood A choice to redevelop one of the poorest areas of the French capital

The start date of the Paris Olympic Games is approaching. The highly anticipated sports event will commence on July 26, and despite being a source of great pride for the country and its institutions to host this edition, many factors will determine its success. It is essential to emphasize that the opportunity to host such a high-profile sports event is crucial not only for sporting prestige but also as an unparalleled chance to enhance the city from an urban and architectural perspective, as expressed by the Minister of Sport, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra.

The 45-year-old minister, who has already taken measures to reduce the number of spectators at the opening ceremony for security reasons, strongly believes that the infrastructure built for the Olympics should stand the test of time and not fall into disrepair after just a few months. The intentions of Oudéa-Castéra generate cautious optimism and align with reports from Il Post. The organizing committee had assured that 95% of the facilities dedicated to the XXXIII edition of the Olympic Games would be of two types: either renovated pre-existing structures or newly built with a predetermined plan for a second use after the Olympics. One of the most discussed facilities is the Olympic Village.

Location of the Olympic Village

@sportbusinessclub visite des appartements du Village des #jeuxolympiques et #jeuxparalympiques de #paris2024 à #SaintDenis et #SaintOuen #joparis2024 @paris2024 #eiffage #equipedefrance @franceolympique midnight - whoisazar! & SEDVTED

The Olympic Village is a facility designed to accommodate approximately 14,000 athletes. It is a residential complex located along the Seine River, where industrial buildings and warehouses previously stood. Precisely located at the intersection of Saint-Ouen-sur-Seine, Saint-Denis, and L'Île-Saint-Denis, three municipalities north of Paris, it is known for being a particularly impoverished area, mainly inhabited by migrants or French citizens of the third or fourth generation. In this area, the unemployment rate is above average, and racial discrimination is a daily challenge. About 80% of the investments allocated to the Olympic Games are directed to these areas, chosen because they were already at the center of an extensive modernization and redevelopment project.

The Project and Recent Controversies

@france24_en What does Europe’s biggest construction site look like? @Kat brings you to Saint-Denis, near Paris, where the Olympic Village is being built. #saintdenis #olympics #paris2024 son original - FRANCE 24 English

After the Olympics, the Village will transform into a fully-fledged neighborhood ready to host residences, shops, sports facilities, schools, and more. In the municipalities of Saint-Denis and Saint-Ouen, nearly 2,000 new residences will be built, with 750 units exclusively dedicated to students and seniors. On Île-Saint-Denis, there will be 320 new housing units (including 90 social housing units), and 130 rooms will be reserved for students. Overall, it is expected that the neighborhood will provide housing for around 6,000 people and offer places and new opportunities for at least 6,000 workers. Furthermore, the construction and design of the Olympic Village represent an opportunity for the revival of the Parisian suburbs, peripheral areas that have faced an increasingly unhappy fate since the 1980s. One of the purposes of the Village is to reconcile the northern suburbs of Paris with the Seine River, utilizing previously neglected portions of the riverbank.

Statements from Karim Bouamrane, mayor of the young town of Saint-Ouen-sur-Seine, as reported by The Guardian, have also emerged. "The suburbs have always been seen as a 'damned' geographical area. A place that belonged to the working class and experienced a decline due to the crises of the '70s. In those years, many factories closed. Cities like Saint-Ouen were subsequently considered areas serving the capital, but now, a new generation of mayors, to which I belong, is intent on changing this situation. We are on the same level as Paris."

While awaiting further developments in the coming months, the situation has taken a negative turn. There have been several eviction operations in areas inhabited by migrants and homeless individuals in the Seine-Saint-Denis department. For now, the prefecture has denied any correlation between the evictions and the logistics related to the Olympic Games, stating that these transfers were planned to alleviate the burden on the city's reception system. Shedding light on this situation is an investigation by Reuters, confirming that at least 60 areas designated for the homeless or occupied buildings in Senna-Saint-Denis were closed in 2023. Among them is an old building materials factory inhabited by around 400 migrants, mostly from Sudan and Chad, in addition to a camp that housed 700 Romani people near the Paris Nord exhibition center in Villepinte, also in the Senna-Saint-Denis department.