Urban Expertise and Study: The End of a Militant Model? An Economics and Humanism Research Group in Paris in the Mid-1970s

Thoughts and Practices of Habitat in France in the 20th Century
By Olivier Chatelan

The working group “Cadre de Vie” was founded in 1973 within the “Économie et Humanisme” association and gathered a number of leading figures involved to differing degrees in urban planning projects for three years in the Lebret Center of Paris. This small team wished to debate the acknowledgement of “human needs” in contemporary urban planning projects in several French cities. However, the purpose and sense of the group’s work soon appeared unclear to its members themselves: wasn’t there a redundancy with the studies of “Économie et Humanisme” of previous decades? What kind of visibility should be given to such studies? The working group having few prospects and being led for the most part by both André Villette and Robert Caillot, it failed to generate true research dynamics. The reasons for this failure have less to do with the personalities of the members themselves than to an identity crisis within a militant movement confronted with the professionalization of urban planning.


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