Building Hope In the Banlieues

PATRICK BERNARD / AFP

Borloo is overseeing the redevelopment of 240 suburbs suffering violence

On the plane en route to a labor-union congress in Bordeaux, Jean-Louis Borloo leans out of his seat and jabs a finger at a cluster of suburban housing projects below. "The very design of neighborhoods like that was meant to create zones that no one exits and no one enters," barks Borloo, who as France's Employment and Social Cohesion Minister has made revamping the country's blighted banlieues a personal crusade.

Borloo insists that demolishing the "invisible but impenetrable walls" separating project residents from suitable housing, functioning public services and jobs is the only way for France to avert...

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