Submitted by UIA admin on Fri, 12/16/2016 - 14:43
Challenge addressed

Homelessness is one of the key challenges for cities in their fight against urban poverty. Nantes’ global aim is to be a green, innovative and liveable city FOR ALL. Social cohesion is at the heart of all its public policies. Today, the more complex way of living of socially disconnected people - including longer periods of homelessness and insecurity - requires new types of answers. Meanwhile, socially excluded groups feel socially stigmatized due to their difference. Here are some targeted local issues:

  • 2337 persons have never been accommodated in 2014 in Nantes
  • Lack of coordinated social support services 24/24 and 7/7
  • Existing structures do not always properly match social/healthcare/housing offers with the users' needs, and their geographic dispersal creates an “organized wandering” throughout the city.
  • Lack of low-threshold job integration programs

Therefore, Nantes has recently defined a specific strategy to answer the needs of the most socially excluded groups, as well as a new approach to connect them to the neighborhood.

Solution proposed

Why « 5 Bridges »? Because it will bring solutions to tackle urban poverty in 5 main dimensions: jobs, housing, health, inclusion, and empowerment through involvement.

Indeed, the aim of the 5Bridges project is to experiment an innovative way to tackle the interconnectedness of the major factors of urban poverty, and to break the circle of social and spatial polarization by:

- Promoting an innovative approach of support and conceiving the project from the ground: based on the users’ choice model and their empowerment through an active involvement to define the needed services.

- Creating an innovative social urban equipment: a building operating as a One-stop Shop interconnecting different social groups, providing work opportunities (through a neighborhood restaurant, a collective urban farm, a solidarity store), as well as solidarity-based housing, low threshold health care, and a high level of integration of tailored social services opened 24/24 and 7/7.

- Locating the social equipment at the heart of a new central multifunctional district, already including health clusters, social solidarity businesses, private and social housing.

- Opening the project to the people living/working in the area, through neighborhood dialogue and involvement of civil society.

A key element of the project is that before the delivery of the building, 5Bridges will implement small scale labs to test and optimize the different designed answers that will be integrated in this social urban equipment, first of this kind in Europe.

  • Ville de Nantes
  • Nantes Metropole - Organised Agglomeration
  • Association Les Eaux Vives - NGO
  • Société Anonyme des Marches de l'Ouest - Public/Private Company
  • Société d’Aménagement de la metropole ouest atlantique (SAMOA) - Public/Private Company
  • Association Emmaus 44 - NGO
Expected results

• Improved, tested and validated ground-based support services; more relevant tools that facilitate taking into account non-linear life courses

• Empowerment and social inclusion through sustained active involvement of users

• Inter-institutional and inter-sectoral cooperation between the professionals; coordinated social and care support services to support the target population

• Community/ neighbours' involvement in the new structure

• Economic inclusion of users in small scale working labs, providing a work experience and short working contracts

• Sustainable housing solutions and satisfactory appropriation of mixed social housing

• Increased expertise of staff and users about support, based on the peer interventions of social workers, volunteers and users

• New social urban equipment, the first of this kind operating in Europe; integrated settled housing and accommodation solution available

Overall, the 5Bridges will reduce the social and spatial polarization in the city and create a new integration dynamic, based on an individual tailored support in a collective and shared space.

Main milestones

November 2017: Launch of the website and start of the videos production
April 2018  launch of the depollution works
May 2018: Launch of the experimentation labs (transitory urban farm, experimenting integration work in the social restaurant) and the action-research team activities (co-formation, shared seminars...)
December 2018: Launch of the construction works - results of the experimentation concerning work in the solidarity shop
September 2019: Launch of shared events to create solidary dynamics in the neighborood
June 2020: Adoption of the final project toolkit, co-built in a cross-cutting action research and with the users
July 2020: delivery of the subsidised components of the building (emergency shelter center, Emmaüs shop, urban farm)

"The 5Bridges project is emblematic of the initiatives that we want to promote on the territory. Located in the center of the city, 5Bridges will offer a better welcome and new support opportunities for homeless people"

Johanna Rolland, Mayor of Nantes
The project in numbers
persons have called the “115” for emergency service request in 2015 (+14% compared to 2014)
of them lived in the street
persons per year would be impacted by the project: homeless, badly housed or disconnected people, in Nantes and surroundings
Contact of the project
Lisa Guérin
Project Coordinator
Frederik Spinnewijn
UIA expert

Project News

Looking for new collaborations

A call for applications has just been launched to identify the future operators of the urban farm and the solidarity restaurant: a key step that will build new collective dynamics.

On the project's side - Interview of the 5Bridges project

The UIA Secretariat organised a series of interviews with the projects selected under the topic "Urban Poverty". What is the most innovative elements of their project towards the fight against urban poverty? What are the main changes they are expecting? What are the main challenges they are confronted with? Read the answers from the 5Bridges project from Nantes!


Urban Farm in Nantes

The urban farm

Site visits

Site visits

Study visit and benchmark in the Netherlands