As part of our reflections on the social and economic impact of Marseille Provence 2013 Capital of Culture, it seemed interesting to us to project ourselves on the situation of the city, once past this great event. Too many foreign experiences have shown us urban and social devastation that such an event can create. And experience of what happens in Marseille for 10 years (with the involvement of private capital to “reclassify” Belsunce or appeal to American speculators to renovate the street from the Republic) scalded us a call at private meaning too, Marseille, abandoning their responsibilities by public authorities.

If Marseille Provence 2013 is not clearly held hands by the public authorities, with the concern of the public interest, this is the future of Marseille and its metropolis that may be compromised.

These scenarios were presented at the meeting of 27 March 2010 “Think in the morning.”

Marseille Provence 2013 has been there. Medium or large success, places of culture will be mobilized, a cool wind blew over the city, a movement of “cooperation” was circulated among the cities of the metropolitan area making (some) vibrate the hope of a common future, private investors have played the game – taking the opportunity to get to know more – baring capacity to support cultural actors and forge social ties. Several events have continued beyond 2013 and some strong cultural sites marked more the imagination of Marseille.

This great event took place in a way that was more or less in line with the city of Marseille, specifically with the aspirations of its people, its places of creation, which happened in some filled but disappointed many others.

Marseille 2013 is positioned between two very contrasting images it is important to analyze before to inform choice, with a preference for one of them . These two contrasting images may be presented as scenarios.

Scenario 1: Marseille 2013 service “attractiveness” and “showcase”


Financial resources are limited, we caught up with things especially through the private (and a little with the state). The steering team believes it has mostly responsible for coordinating the communication , for the rest it mostly has to let it go. It is in large strokes cultural (Royal de Luxe, Berlin Opera, major national troops).

It was by all means give the exchange deal with bad dialogue and discontent of many players who consider themselves marginalized. At the same time, it was unwise to give a pessimistic image, and take the opportunity to do a great job of public relations for the benefit of the town-center and its metropolis. Work first the picture , to make the city attractive (profile, architectural and festive promising for southern metropolis for a Mediterranean capital) of brands popular very important (like Coca-Cola, McDonalds and Adidas ) but also prestige, carried by LVMH sponsoring major events, private saving a little (or a lot) party.

Real initiatives from elsewhere (non Marseille, private labels, investors, state, etc..). Fortunately, it comes close to this or that event announced by a campaign of large-scale private investors play the game, subject to derive significant benefits in terms of image and advertising impact.

The Department and the Region, forcibly subjected to greater complementarity between them (consultants “territorial” established in 2014), rallied in Marseilles project (supported by the State, the City, the Chamber of Commerce and private investors) subject counterparties (support for a number of practitioners and support cultural activities of medium-sized cities). The state has contributed to saving operation, he helped to silence the cacophony of local communities, it helped to erase the disability of the city.

In terms of urban planning and housing:

The effect showcase carries many things in its path. The pedestrianization of the Old Port is more or less a success, the MUCEM and the Regional Centre for the Mediterranean (Area) are finally realized. Two out of three rounds conducted on Arenc Quays , and 40,000 m² of retail Terrasses du Port. Green space – more or less controlled and clean – was set up around the Porte d’Aix , a little pushing the limit of the northern districts.

The private investors have a major role, they are considered those who saved the operation. Prices started to increase after the crisis, bringing the new image and enjoying. A deal – behind the scenes – between investors, the mayor and the state has taken in hand the rehabilitation of the Republic Street , the former residents are now only a vestigial state, the key is not now acquired new owners, affluent residents.

Belsunce is a bit “sanitized”, offering more image area of the XVII-XVIII th century, judging by the facades and storefronts. Noailles was a bit overpowered in its periphery, into any openings on the Canebière particularly , its Mediterranean character is highlighted to explain its specificity. In housing, living conditions remain difficult, slumlords are a little content but sustained speculation leads to high rents.

On the political front:

The event reflects the results of parliamentary elections in 2012, MPs from voting helped the success of the Marseille-Provence 2013 of their dreams.

Comment on this scenario : It was “saving” JC Gaudin and municipal majority of 2012 and beyond, which explains the decisive push to the State, but the submission of the city private worsened, despite the episode of the 2009 crisis that has proven, there has been, thanks to Marseille 2013 accelerator gentrification behind fronts and window, poverty has increased, the contrast between rich and poor has widened, the traditional center, shops and offices, is weakened, the most dynamic depart gradually towards Euroméditerranée wasteland of office and retail grew; Noailles, public space and living conditions in the housing deteriorated.

Contrary to what should have been profiled, the 2 camps were tense (state, city and investors, facing the Region, Department and CUM) and the relationships between Marseille and cities or average of the metropolis were not woven, other cities have taken more or less the chestnuts out of the fire at their level, in terms of image, if the idea of ​​certain events continue beyond 2013 has been won, but rather with Adidas and Constructa … and municipal elections in 2014 focused naturally Guy Tessier mayor of Marseille, after some severe internal friction and after a frontal battle against JN Guerin.

Scenario 2: Marseille 2013 carried by his actors in the field


Resources are limited, the choice was to “make do” (that is to say, profiling a festive year, less costly, and participatory). A team responsible for the overall project is in place, the one and the other played “collective” with her. Instead of a massive involve the private, the choice was made to save the year by the maximum convergence between public authorities, between places of culture and creation of different levels, and organizing great moments that give their chances many initiatives and initiators.

Some major cultural events have marked so strong imagination. Structures, designers and the most diverse cultural players participated in the events. The people have experienced this year 2013 as punctuated by spectacular moments – for the entire city center, partners or more local cities – that delight a little life, and contribute to the pleasure of living together. They came from far away to watch and participate because it was felt that a new wind is blowing on this obscure town.

Private investors have taken an important place, but their role is coordinated sponsorship and – more or less – controlled function of the overall project.

In terms of urban planning and housing:

The choice was not made to finish any force major cultural investments cultural projects, the MUCEM could not be opened in the year, but we did visit the site and look for the Regional Centre the Mediterranean. The global crisis of 2008 stored in boxes and segregating the megalomaniac projects “four towers” Quays Arenc. The garden of the Porte d’Aix has diverted traffic but in a spirit of access to motorized transport (pedestrian and cycling) and junction between neighborhoods.

Public transport of all kinds have been set up to pass on the pedestrianized Old Port and access to all places of cultural life in the four corners of the city. The Republic Street has changed the state based on the CDC has taken the hand and produces housing for the middle classes. Belsunce Noailles and have evolved into a more respectful of people sense, investors are no longer rain or shine, rents content has helped reduce slumlords and beyond the facade, the living has been improved. Pockets of misery still abound, but gradually the habitat is being renovated with the aim to keep or relocate the residents.

On the political front:

Marseille Provence 2013 follows the 2012 legislative elections gave a majority of the left, and what happened in 2013 expressed a changing background for the city.

Comment on this scenario: A very important work “couture” was conducted, seam between the various institutions and communities to achieve a less flashy but more qualitative year, different municipalities concerned have little or no benefit, seam between the different actors cultural and creative levels, many of them have found an opportunity to express themselves and offer their expertise, involvement of the public in events they were also actors, to the cultural life future, points were scored, the request to start some big moment was clearly expressed, but on the basis of projects to rebuild public and the living environment of Marseille has some advantage of the event; bed n ‘ has been boosted by speculation, maintaining the level of rents and the revival of the desire to live in the city center has helped to restore the owners taste rehabilitate their homes, the idea of metropolis is favored by the reality of the cultural project Metropolitan done jointly. This development background, in conjunction with the presidential and parliamentary elections in 2012, suggests 2014 municipal elections in favor of the left.

Marseille 2015 will be a little that Marseille-Provence 2013 will have been. Though they say, the city we want in 2015 and beyond will be strongly impacted by what will be 2013. There are no cultural project that is intimately linked to the city project, the proposed metropolis choose its actors, its institutions and its people.

Christian de Leusse Lacoste and Patrick, a City Centre for All