Accueil » Projets » Alternative solutions to spontaneous urbanization in Saint-Laurent du Maroni (French Guyana)

Alternative solutions to spontaneous urbanization in Saint-Laurent du Maroni (French Guyana)

Study, Technical Support

Start date End date Budget Funding
01/03/2013 01/07/2014 324 000 €



French Guyana is lagging behind significantly in terms of housing construction, especially highly social housing, which is leading to incremental development of housing settlements that are referred to as “spontaneous”, i.e. self-built housing with no deeds or rights, which generates major sanitary, social, economic and environmental consequences. In this context, the Department of the environment, planning and housing (Deal) in French Guyana and the municipality of Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni, commissioned the GRET/Pact in French Guyana/Agir Group to design innovative, less costly solutions to complement existing public policies, with a view to curbing and preventing “spontaneous” urbanization, in a context where demographic growth is exceptionally high.

The mission, which was led from 2013 and 2014, aimed to:

1) design an innovative test operation (in terms of housing products, upgrading and social support) to re-house inhabitants in two sectors of precarious spontaneous housing.

2) produce two pre-operational consolidation plans/neighbourhood improvement in two spontaneous housing sectors, each with a surface area of approximately fifteen hectares.

These three operations were part of a comprehensive reflection in the medium term for the entire municipality of Saint-Laurent du Maroni.

The group produced 3 pre-operational plans and proposed innovations in the areas of financial and administrative packages, access to land, social support, housing products and upgrading solutions. It also delivered training to the Municipality’s social urban planning team (MOUS).

This proposal led notably to the publication of a new prefectoral order on support for access to housing in French Guyana, published in July 2015: Order n° 2015 212_0004_DEAL of 31 July 2015, pertaining to special conditions for allocation of State aid for access to highly social housing in French Guyana.

The operation in the studies has not yet been implemented but this housing product is currently being tested as part of another operation conducted by the Public urban planning establishment of French Guyana (Epag) and PACT in Saint- Laurent-du-Maroni in 2016 on land owned by Epag.

Design of the solutions proposed was based specifically on:

  • a dynamic detailed study of local know-how, ways of life and housing, which really involved and listened to inhabitants during the feasibility study and design phase;
  • all the technical, administrative, financial and land innovations based on the in-depth study of regulations & standards and their adaptation.
  • the negotiation and construction of political, social and technical compromises with all parties concerned.