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
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.