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In Verberie, France, An Intergenerational Residence Lead...

In Verberie, France, An Intergenerational Residence Leads to Debate

Discussions are underway amongst elected officials in Verberie, France. Is it wise to create an intergenerational residence? “The initial feedback is mostly positive,” assures Michel Arnould, the Mayor of this commune of 4,000 residents. The final decision will be made at the beginning of the school year, during the next session of the municipal council.

Young man and elderly woman share a drink, Creutzwald, France

Discussions are underway amongst elected officials in Verberie, France. Is it wise to create an intergenerational residence? “The initial feedback is mostly positive,” assures Michel Arnould, the Mayor of this commune of 4,000 residents. The final decision will be made at the beginning of the school year, during the next session of the municipal council.

The necessary investments will not be made at the expense of the town. “The project will be undertaken by a private investor,” explains Michel Arnould. Several lenders have already shown interest. The residence will be situated behind the new town lunchroom. It will be made up of four interconnected buildings with premises below that will welcome health professionals. Forty-eight apartments will be located on the upper levels. “There will be 24 apartments for the elderly, and 24 for young families,” explains the chief magistrate. “This is only the first step, as we hope to create more than 100 housing units in the next ten years.”

The goal of an intergenerational residence is always the same: to create bonds between different generations. “We cannot impose anything,” recognized Michel Arnould.

Housing along Rue de la République, Verberie, France

This is because the development will be made up of rentals, almost certainly managed by a social landlord. The mayor will also put in his word on the distribution of units.

This urban planning project is nothing new in the eyes of Patrick Floury, former Mayor of Verberie, and today the leader of the municipal opposition to the project. “I refused the project two or three years ago. There are already social housing units in this area. In particular, there are three beautiful private apartment buildings next door where 150 people live,” he explains. “If we add a social housing development next to them, their property will no longer have any value. This is not okay, and this already worried them a few years ago. If we really must create such a development, do it elsewhere. It would better preserve balance in the town.” If Michel Arnould is able to convince the council of the project’s rationale despite this opposition, the grand opening is expected to take place in 2018.

Does your town have an intergenerational residence? If so, how has your town reacted to its presence? Is your city making an effort to build intergenerational residences? Share your thoughts and your city's stories in the comments area below. 

Original article, originally published in French, here.

Credits: Image 1 by Sophie. Image 2 and data linked to sources.

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Katelyn Hewett recently graduated from St. Olaf College in Minnesota with a Bachelor of Arts in English and French. During her time at St. Olaf, she enjoyed playing the French Horn in the St. Olaf Band, working as a teaching assistant for first-year...

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