Paris, France, December 4, 2020

The challenges with new forms of solidarity - The Urban, season 2 - Episode 1 with Jean Viard

Cities and the people living in them are being significantly affected by the health crisis. The concerns and uncertainty are also leading to a resurgence of the values of cooperation and solidarity: “Humanist actions which show that community wellbeing is being rebuilt thanks to collective efforts”, explains Jean Viard. The sociologist is the guest for this first episode from Season 2 of The Urban, Gecina’s podcast on urban lifestyles and the city, looking at the impacts and the challenges still to be resolved with the Covid-19 pandemic.


  • Jean Viard, sociologist and research director with the CNRS and the Political Science and Research Center (CEVIPOF)
  • Denis Hameau, vice-president in charge of the social and solidarity economy for the Bourgogne Franche-Comté Region and head of the On Dijon smart city project
  • Report from Rue Dareau, in Paris, heading out to meet the non-profit association France Horizon

To listen to the first episode in French with English subtitles, play the video:

"Before this health crisis, we were in a society where the majority of our fellow citizens believed that happiness was in their private life and unhappiness in public life. These values are reversing”.

We have all shown solidarity, while using borders. We have had the border of our houses, our homes. And then all the other borders. Two concepts, cooperation and borders, have been repositioned at the heart of our societies”

“This was still a time when we talked about primary, secondary, tertiary. Fundamentally, workers left the city, and the factories went with them. This is the first social group. The second social group is those who have continued to work, in care, security, retail, etc. And the third group is the one that had already started to leave the city, the digital population, working in digital technology. These three social and territorial groups have different stakes."

Jean Viard


How can solidarity express itself and be conceived in cities? Are the forms of solidarity that have emerged during the lockdown sustainable? Revaluing solidarity, is this an essential condition for our resilience?

Jean Viard takes a firmly optimistic look at the crisis we face today. According to him, it has paved the way for French society to once again create a sense of “shared community”, demonstrating its solidarity. It has also highlighted our capacity for change. In this episode, Jean Viard invites us to maintain these dynamics and reduce inequalities by encouraging a new mobility between neighborhoods, territories and urban hyper-centers.

Developing solidarity at city level through digital technology is also possible...For this first episode, The Urban headed to Dijon to meet Denis Hameau, who is in charge of the On Dijon project. This tool proved its effectiveness during the first lockdown by enabling isolated people to check in for instance.

This first episode also looks at solidarity between individuals and social inclusion issues through a private-sector initiative. Since December 2019, Gecina has been providing the charity France Horizon with free access to space within its portfolio to accommodate an emergency housing center. Each year, France Horizon provides support and assistance for more than 30,000 socially vulnerable people to help them integrate and become independent within society.


The Urban is available on all podcast platforms, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Deezer and on

To listen to the original episode in French:


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