William Kornblum, professor of sociology at the City University of New York, published a « Letter of Marseille » in the Dissent magazine in January, 2015 and in Courrier International in september, 2015.
He is currently a resident research fellow at the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies, University Aix-Marseille, France. Christine Breton and Christiane Martinez, members of the residents’ co operative Hôtel du Nord, accompanied him in his discovery of the north districts of Marseilles.
As “urban renewal” threatens to further marginalize the city’s poor, Marseille activists are demonstrating that genuine cultural, environmental, and social renewal can go hand in hand.
Extract : Her approach (Christine Breton), through the Hotel du Nord cooperative, is quieter but hardly lacking in passion. She and her allies invest much of their effort in educating the public about local issues of environmental justice. They find creative ways, like the walking tours, to reach out to the socially isolated residents of the public housing neighborhoods in an effort to enlist local leadership there. Their challenge is great and they approach their work with impressive dedication and proper humility.