The mayor of Lyon, France drives a bulldozer to initiate construction of social housing
The headline reads, in English, “Aboard a bulldozer, Mr. Pradel officially opened the site of the future city.” In October 1958, Lyon Mayor Louis Pradel was seen riding a bulldozer to break ground for a new social housing development called “La Duchère” in the city’s western-most ninth arrondissement. A news article calls Pradel “Munatius Plancus”—Julius Caesar’s officer who established Lugdunum (Lyon) as the Roman capital of Gaul in 43 CE. Construction of La Duchère created an entirely new city. Built atop a former fourteenth-century castle and nineteenth-century fort, the site covers nearly a square mile. In response to a severe housing shortage following World War II, the centralized French government sponsored the construction of thousands of new, affordable housing units on the fringes of major French cities during the 1950s through the1970s. Between 1960 and 1980, more than nine million housing units were constructed throughout France.
Lyon Municipal Archives, Lyon, France.