beaver cleaver, white picket fence, cul de sac

Chicago, busy streets

Comfortable. Texas. Home

commute, cookie-cutter, quiet

crowded, boring, fake

Home, Dense, Common

home, neighborhoods, lawns, houses

home, safety, nice

Home, Trains, Public School, Main Street

Houses, Families, Trees

nice, monotonous, ordinary

pleasant, safe, dull, home

quiet, homes, families, middle class

safe, clean, easy

snobs, rich, quite, secure.

Trees, commute, tranquility

trees, wealth, big houses

wealth, white privilege, educated

ce qu'il y a autour de la ville

cités, immeubles, délinquance


habitations bon marché, grande concentration de personnes, parfois conflits

immeuble, jeune, éducateur

Immeubles, insécurité, périphéries

mal être social, émeutes,

malaise social; périphéries; pauvreté; HLM (immeubles..)

Paris, Immeubles, Métro, Boulot, Dodo

pauvreté, difficultés, province

Pauvreté, Jeunes, Manques

périphérie; difficultés; risque

personnes qui ont moins de moyens, ont envie de s'écarter de la ville pour avoir une vie plus confortable

population, difficulté, reconstruction

population, immeuble, zone

problème, émigré, bidonville

quartiers difficiles, galère, enfance, dangereux

racaille, gang, drogue

riches, pauvres, calme, agité

ville périphérique

Violence - Métissage culturel - Marginalisation


I wondering why there is such a difference between the American and French perception of suburbs.  While there are exceptions in each list, we seem to think of suburbs as home and an ideal place to live.  The French list, on the other hand, reminds me of L.A. suburbia in 1992.  Is it that in France, suburbs are this different?

I also think this is very interesting.  I wonder if the world "banlieue" in French has a different significance than the word "suburbs" in English.  In France, is it the middle of a city that tends to be the richest part, or is it the edges?  In the U.S., generally, for whatever reason (especially in the midwest, where I am from) the intercity is very poor, the schools are bad, there are slum-like areas, etc.  The edge of the city, however, where the suburbs are, is where the city is expanding, and tends to be a place of neighborhoods full of large, fancy houses and good schools.

What is the layout of cities in France?  Is it really the opposite of this?

One interesting thing that I have noticed is that I actually visited Peru this last January, and I really did notice that the cities were layed out much differently than they are in the U.S.  The richest part of Lima is in the middle, but for miles in all directions there are slums, and the slums tend to get worse, the farther out you get.

Pour répondre à tes questions, en France le mot Banlieue a surtout gagné au fils du temps une cognotation négative en effet, on l'associe comme les réponses des élèves de l'IUT le montre à la surpopulation en immeubles, à l'insécurité, à sa population composée principalement d'immigrés (cette vision des choses est transmise par les médias qui montrent beaucoup d'images des banlieues de grandes villes ou la vie n'est pas toujours facile alors que la banlieue de la plupart des villes n'est pas du tout pareil). Par exemple à Brest, la banlieue correspont à des communes composée surtout de zones d'habitations.

Les villes ne sont en fait pas du tout disposées comme aux Etats Unis. Le centre ville est plus riche, puis lorsque l'on séloigne c'est plutôt une classe moyenne. Le mot "banlieu" correspond en fait pour nous à des quartiers qui se trouvent dans les villes mais où les gens sont plus concentrés dans de grands immeubles. Dans ces quartiers, il y a plus de précarité et de problèmes.

Vos banlieues se trouvent-elles loin du centre ville? Y trouve-t-on une vie paisible?

From my background, the analogy that I'm seeing develop here is that we can imagine the city as New York City, the "banlieue" as Harlem and slum areas, and the suburbs as Long Island. (I grew up on Long Island, so this makes sense to me.)  It makes sense that in every big city there are locations with very high population density where the living conditions aren't so good.

The comment about immigrants living in the "banlieue" reminds me of the early twentieth century when there were many Irish and Italian (among other nationalities) immigrants living in the slums of New York City.  Is there a particular nationality of immigrants who live in the "banlieue"?


Suburbs aren't necessarily that far from the center of our cities... although I'm not sure what one would classify as "far."  Oklahoma City, where I am from, has about a million people altogether in all of its metro areas; however, the population within the city limits is much smaller.  I live near the suburbs on the south side of the city, which are about thirty minutes away (on the highway) from downtown.  But I would say there are suburbs all through the city, not just on the outside.  Downtown itself is a very rich area, the richest part of the city, but the areas near downtown are probably the poorest.  Surrounding this part are some very rich suburbs (maybe 5 minutes away from downtown).  I think that pretty much all U.S. suburbs can be generalized as being very calm and peaceful.  Sterotypically, they are places where families live in big, nice houses with gardens and trees, where there is not much crime or unrest (many of the very nice ones are even locked at night).

Is there a word in French for areas of cities like this?  What immigrants are the most common in France?  I didn't realize immigration was so common there... I was wondering, are there a lot of immigrants from the French-speaking countries in Africa?  Are there any banlieues that have progressed economically to the degree that they no longer seem poor (like the slums in India that have developped so much?)

Sorry for so many questions :P

En France, on appelle ca les quartiers résidentiels de la periphérie de telle ou telle ville (je ne trouve pas d'autre mot) et le mot banlieue est utilisé pour designé la plupart du temps (à tort) ce que j'ai décris plus haut. Les immigrés les plus communs en France sont les gens d'origine maghrébine venant du Maghreb (Algérie, Maroc, Tunisie : anciennes colonies Françaises où l'on parle français). Ces immigrés sont arrivés surtout après la 2nde guerre mondiale et principalement en France du fait des liens historiques et culturels qu'elle entretenait avec le Maghreb (colonies françaises). Sinon concernant des banlieues qui se seraient developpées je pense que dans la périphérie de Paris certaines banlieues ont su régler leurs problèmes et se développer économiquement.

I am originally from Panama, and I would like to note that Mary's observation about Lima applies perfectly well to Panama City also--with very few exceptions, living conditions decline dramatically the further away you get from the center of the city. I was actually quite surprised to see that the exact opposite effect occurs in the United States. It seems that U.S. suburbs are the exception rather than the rule.

Toutes les banlieues en france ne sont pas surpeuplées, précaire et pauvre.Mais nos connotations qui nous viennent à l'esprit sont négatives car on pense aux banlieues décrient par les médias ce qui faussent leurs images réelles. Ces banlieues sont celles de grandes villes comme Paris ou Marseilles, alors que les banlieues de province ne sont pas vus de cette facon.