The Becoming of Residential Identities II. Residents’ Experiences in the Bois-le-Prêtre Alteration Project, Paris, 2013. The Interviews.

Katrin Paadam and Sten Gromark

Project Period: 2014-2015
Type: Senior research project
Program Area(s): Critical Projections


The main objective of this project is to accomplish an extensive qualitative analysis and interpretation on residents’ perceptions of their experiences from the renewal process of the 2011 finalized social housing project Bois-le-Prêtre in Paris, adopting a biographical approach with in-depth inquiries into residents’ housing histories. In particular focus is residents’ reactions as subjects to ambiguous and dramatic changes and transformations of their life worlds intended by the initiating authors of the project as a realization of residential resilience. Eight non-directed interviews with residents were conducted during spring 2013. Together with substantial additional recurring observations on site it provides the prime empirical basis for the investigation. The general thematic and conceptual frame concerns the becoming of residents’ identities while exposed to radical residential transgressions in situational, structural and symbolic terms. The research will be done in collaboration with Katrin Paadam, Professor of Sociology, TTU, Tallinn, with particular expertise and experience in this field of urban residential studies.

An initial description and interpretation of this residential project by the involved researchers based on key actors’ and project authors’ perceptions is under final editing and planned to be published on Ashgate 2015 in the forthcoming text collection titled ‘Ways of Residing in Transformation’. With the planned additional assessment of interviews with inhabitants taken together these results of collaboration would constitute the basic explorative material for a long term co-authored book project dedicated to a re-conceptualised approach to the forming of residential identities in projective practice based realizations.

This project, starting from the notion of architectural and social change, on the re-thinking of the social in architecture, puts special attention to the implementation of these aspects within the field of residential situations characterized by either symbolic transgression or resident’s processes of identification. Focus is set on the analysis of conditions of transformative societal change and the interactions of concepts, convictions and constructions with a special ambition to unveil and to re-evaluate, to re-situate the potentially critical role of urban architectural interventions in situations of profound cultural and social alterations.

Research is dedicated to the archi-socio analysis on ‘The Becoming of Residential Identities’ as empirical and conceptual explorations on contemporary residential situations focused on the reciprocal dynamic between social reality and architectural projections departing primarily from a Bourdieu elaborated perspective on cultural change related to symbolic capital; on visual and symbolic quality consumption.

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