Problematic Monoactivity

chinese-flyers-in-parisReading an article recently, I was struck by a particular point. I may now have put down blood red roots into French soil, but I will always remain an immigrant. The whole topic of immigration is one that fascinates me, especially how it has shaped Paris throughout history, and forced the city to evolve and develop, and the article dealt with all these subjects. Taking a look at the integration of a Chinese community and the evolution of an inner-city area, the article, published in the influential Triple Canopy online magazine, was written by local journalist Jules Treneer. I decided to speak to him about the article and talk about the subjects he discussed in more depth.

sedaine1The article deals ostensibly with the problem of monoactivité, namely the fact that a Chinese immigrant community has purchased a whole series of shop units across several streets in the 11th arrondissement and transformed them into wholesale textile plots. But what exactly is the problem here? In this one square mile area (Sedaine-Popincourt), 600 of the 850 shop units are now Chinese owned, and as Treneer points out, all are garish, with “names reminiscent of cheap perfumes: Lady Belle, Show Girls, Miss Coco.” The City Council and local residents believe this domination has killed community life, and a fight-back based around legislation has begun.

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