Characteristics of the area Valenciennes Métropole spans 36 municipalities in total. Its territory is marked by diffused urban structures. As a result of the 19th Industrial Revolution, coal mining and ironworks have traditionally dominated industrial developments in Valenciennois. During the mining boom,
urban areas developed according to the requirements of the industry in proximity to the mine shafts, along the transportation routes and close to the river Escaut.
Anzin and Beuvrages, both part of the Agglomeration of Valenciennes Métropole, constitute its northern suburbs and its size makes it one of the largest social housing districts in Valenciennes Metropole. Here, the difficulties connected to urban and social deprivation present a strong contrast with the city of Valenciennes itself, which has entered a phase of regeneration.
The area is situated very near to Valenciennes city centre. Despite this proximity, the area is completely isolated from the centre, due to the lack of effective connections by the surrounding infrastructures and the river Escaut.

The mining industry has rapidly declined over the last 30 years and local people have suffered in the resulting economic crisis. This crisis has left the territory characterised by the presence of large industrial brownfield areas, mainly located along the river Escaut.
Since 1995, the situation in Valenciennois has improved and the district has recovered 13000 jobs. But despite this improvement, the average rate of unemployment in Valenciennois is still 15%, which is higher than regional and national rates. Unemployment is a key factor in the exclusion of Anzin and Beuvrages, where rates are disproportionately high, reaching up to 30% in some areas. This represents more than double the unemployment rate across the rest of the region. As a consequence, the population continues to experience poverty and deprivation. The sanitary conditions are alarming, education rates are low and large qualification gaps are evident. There has also been an alarming increase in juvenile delinquency and domestic violence rates. Certain ancient miners live together with two or three generations of their families. Complex domestic arrangements such as these indicate the levels of distress
experienced by many families. These problematic situations could be resolved by progressing towards a more stable employment market. However, the process of reintegration is not easy, given that the population cannot be considered mobile: the majority of families do not own a car.

Mostly businesses in Anzin and Beuvrages are small. The hospital remains one of the largest employers in Valenciennes, but it is not situated within the case study area. The Toyota factory, located next to Valenciennes, employs 42% of people living in the Valenciennes district. Valenciennes Métropole continues to be dependant on the automotive industry, which is also susceptible to decline.

The proximity of Anzin and Beuvrages to the centre of Valenciennes offers the possibility that the renewal of the central district will also have a positive effect on the deprived case study area. In this aim in mind, one of the renewal projects is the construction of a fourth bridge over the river Escaut, thus strengthening links between Valenciennes city centre and the areas of Anzin and Beuvrages.

LUDA Description of Case Studies

Furthermore, the communities are well equipped in terms of their social and cultural infrastructures. Beuvrages has its own schools, a post office and a sport complex. Anzin has a theatre, schools, sports and social complexes and a post office. The centre of Anzin is relatively self-sufficient by its own trades however the economic situation needs further improvement.
Anzin and Beuvrages are characterised by the presence of large industrial wastelands, the future of which is currently under consideration. The brownfield areas of Vallourec, situated in Anzin, will be converted to allow the development of an industrial unit, largely based upon tertiary sector industries. The development will provide services for other businesses and aid the construction of important public facilities. Another brownfield conversion, this time in Anzin city centre, will allow the development of a tram station plus a building for cultural activities.

Vision, chances for development and drivers for change
Valenciennes Métropole is an agglomeration established after the creation of governmental programme Grand Projet de Ville (GPV) in 2001. Valenciennes Métropole aims to become an open and interlinked territory, to redress the balances between redevelop the urban frame and breathe new life into the local economy. The GPV programme and the new urban renovation legislative framework aim to assist urban regeneration improve living standards
and tackle the significant urban and social problems experienced in the territory.
Valenciennes Métropole has focused its intervention along several major axes: restructuring the district by means of demolition and reconstruction, establishing a framework of transportation routes and public open spaces, and pursuing the agenda of renewal across aging and deteriorating private housing.
Anzin and Beuvrages are located within one of the strategic territories earmarked for redevelopment: the mining corridor of Valenciennes Métropole. Consequently, the focus of attention is on this territory. The action is centred around the work to re-balance the north and south areas of the agglomeration, reinforcing the city centres on both sides of the river Escaut (Anzin and Valenciennes), and creating a new centrality in Beuvrages.

Accordingly, the re-definition of Anzin city centre is emphasised by the regeneration of the brownfield areas of Valmont, in immediate proximity to Anzin’s city hall. This project is already underway: covering an area of 10 ha, it includes the construction of 300 houses, 3000 m² of office-space, commercial space and a tram station. On the other hand, the intense operation of urban renewal has to be performed very quickly with the objective of creating a real city centre in Beuvrages.
The projects on these main sites will increase the quality of the residences in the area and will improve inhabitants’ social conditions and living standards.
On the inter-communal scale, the creation of a network of urban green spaces in Anzin and Beuvrages is also planned. The creation of these green spaces will work to redefine and recover the connections between the two communes.
In the long run, Anzin and Beuvrages will become less isolated due to the new bridge development, over the river Escaut, to the south and the construction of a bypass to the north.
In order to perform major work, in terms of employment, Valenciennes Métropole adopted a free urban zone in 2004 to encourage the creation of new job opportunities in the area by exempting new business from social and fiscal charges for 5 years.