Who can (still) live in Bordeaux ? Residential pathways in the Bordeaux metropolitan area and in Gironde.

Élise Thouron (Université de Bordeaux / Géographie-cités Laboratory) will present her thesis Who can (still) live in Bordeaux ? Residential pathways in the Bordeaux metropolitan area and in Gironde, supervised by Nathalie Gaussier (Université de Bordeaux) and Renaud Le Goix (Université Paris Cité)

Friday, March 8
University of Bordeaux
Salle des thèses

Jury members

Members of the jury:
Ms GAUSSIER Nathalie, Senior Lecturer, University of Bordeaux, Thesis Director
Mr. LE GOIX Renaud, Professor, Université Paris, Cité Thesis Director
Ms BOURDEAU-LEPAGE Lise, Professor, Lyon 3 University, Rapporteur
Mr DESJARDINS Xavier, Professor, Sorbonne University, Rapporteur
Mr ROUGÉ Lionel, Senior Lecturer, University of Toulouse 2, Examiner
Mr. TAULELLE François, Professor, University of Toulouse 2, Examiner
Ms. VALLÉE Julie, Research Director, CNRS, Examiner

Guest members:
Mr. DU MOULIN DE LABARTHÈTE Simon, Managing Director, Bordeaux Aquitaine urban planning agency
Ms DE VELLIS Caroline, Team Manager, Bordeaux Aquitaine urban planning agency


Based on the observation shared by local representatives and experts that it has become increasingly difficult to find accommodation in the Bordeaux metropolis, this dissertation explores housing strategies and trajectories within the Bordeaux metropolitan area and in the department of Gironde. Indeed, the tight real estate market as well as high purchasing and renting prices determine how people access, remain and move within the housing market, both for renting and home ownership. Therefore, beyond the matters of supply and of purchasing and renting prices, the main issue underlying the current housing market crisis lies in the fluidity of residential trajectories.

In an action-research perspective, the goal is then to offer a more detailed description of housing trajectories and their obstacles to document the challenges facing public policies today. The methods used aim at describing on the one hand the strategies and on the other the housing trajectories. Starting from an overall characterization of flows based on Fidéli data, a survey conducted among households having recently moved and living in Gironde was adjusted and statistically analyzed. In order to better understand choices and housing strategies, interviews were carried out to supplement the quantitative analysis. From these interviews, which were compared with existing research, ideal types of housing trajectories could be defined, and made more precise by the results drawn from the survey’s multivariate analysis.

The results reveal a typology of residential trajectories in Gironde falling into 6 groups : the “city homebuyers”, the “tenants newly arrived in Bordeaux”, the “young people benefitting from state aid and/or family resources” and who easily move to the suburban area, the “happy retirees”, the “mid-life individuals with intermediate occupations hindered in the metropolis” and finally, the “workers and employees hindered in Gironde”. Thus, the cross-analysis of housing trajectories’ ideal types and of housing trajectories’ typology shows that the life cycle alone does not explain the households’ residential trajectories. These are also socially selective. The wealthiest groups access home ownership more easily and renting even more so. On the contrary, the poorest groups are excluded from ownership, sometimes even in the suburban areas, even though becoming a homeowner remains a core residential demand. Moreover, inequalities in terms of resources, including for people at the same stage of the life cycle, also create important discrepancies in the fluidity of residential trajectories. Lastly, residential aspirations, that are unique to each life course, also influence housing trajectories. At comparable occupation and stage of life, individual life trajectories lead to different arrangements and choices.

In light of these results, it becomes clear that public policies striving for fluidity in residential trajectories cannot merely be reduced to housing policies. They have to include social, economic and transport policies to enable affordable housing at every stage of life. In the end, residential trajectories encapsulate the challenges facing the city of tomorrow. Keywords : Residential pathways, housing strategies, Bordeaux metropolitan area.