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District Administration from a Perspective of Social Inclusion



Direct administration, begun in 1985, offers a free and open venue of encounter between the municipality and its residents.

Involving 14 districts of the city of Saint-Denis in the French Île de France Region, direct administration is run by an elected official and a district/neighbourhood councillor. The district councillor organises regular plenary meetings as well as consultation sessions concerning numerous municipal projects in the realm of planning, housing and social services.

Direct administration represents a level of coordination among actors in the neighbourhood, providing for a territorial implementation of public policies and opening up a space favouring experimental and participative projects. It mobilises various partnerships involving different levels of the administration and associations.

Programme Objectives

  • to improve knowledge on the districts and the preoccupations of their residents, and disseminate information on municipal projects and actions;
  • to provide the possibility for all opinions to be heard and assess the evolution of social demand in the preparation of public policy;
  • to increase the effectiveness of public action by favouring proximity and transversal action.

The main beneficiaries are: neighbourhood residents, unemployed people, single parents, and migrants.

The participation processes implemented are: Plenary meetings, workshops, and community-driven projects. The process has been institutionalized through municipal administrative policy.

Main results have been: creating a participative interface between neighbourhood residents and the municipal administration; involving people in urban planning and social policy-making; and providing for the inclusion of marginalised people such as unemployed workers, youth, women, single parents and migrants within participative processes.

Main obstacles have been: reaching marginalised people as compared to long-term residents with a middle-class background; and keeping the practice open by preventing the formation of insider-outsider relationships