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Vaulx-en-Velin (Municipality, Rhône, France)

Last modified: 2012-10-12 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Vaulx]

Flag of Vaulx-en-Velin - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 30 September 2011


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Presentation of Vaulx-en-Velin

The municipality of Vaulx-en-Velin (40,626 inhabitants in 2007; 2,094 ha) is located north-east of Lyon.

Vaulx-en-Velin belonged until the early 14th century to the domain of Montluel, located in Bresse. Around 1320, a violent flood changed the bed of river Rhône, moving the village from the right to the left bank of the river. This change transferred Vaulx to the Dauphiné of Vienne. Swapping pieces of land, the two involved lords eventually acknowledged the transfer. In 1349, the last Dauphin bankrupted and sold his state, including Vaulx, to King of France Charles V. In the 17th century, Vaulx belonged to the municipality of Villeurbanne, from which it seceded as an independent municipality in 1797.
Originally located in the Department of Isère, Vaulx-en-Velin was transferred into the Department of Rhône on 24 March 1852, together with the neighboring municipalities of Bron, Vénissieux and Villeurbanne.
The village was flooded several times by the Rhône, for instance in 1698 (62 ha of land were definitively lost), 1711, 1756, 1778, 1789, 1840, 1845, 1846 and 1856. To limit the floods, the building of the Jonage diversion canal (15.6 km) was decided under the First Empire, but eventually completed only in 1894-1899. At the time, Vaulx was a poor, unhealthy place, surrounded by marshes and with little arable land; in 1901, the municipality counted 1,251 inhabitants scattered over seven hamlets.

Industrialization started in Vaulx-en-Velin after the First World War, the population increasing to 3,745 inhabitants in 1926. The year before, the Soieries Artificielles du Sud-Est set up in the southern part of Vaulx a factory producing synthetic textile threads. The company was renamed in 1935 Textiles Artificiels du Sud-Est (TASE). A new industrial borough emerged, nicknamed "Silk Borough", including separate housing estates for workers and white collars. Employment by TASE increased from 900 in 1926 to 3,000 in 1935, causing two successive waves of immigration, the first from Italy, Poland, Russia and Spain, and the second from North Africa. Vaulx-en-Velin, administratively ran by the Parti Communiste Français since the Liberation, became an emblematic banlieue rouge (red belt town). The increase of the population did not stop, with 9,630 inhabitants in 1954, 20,726 in 1968 and 37,866 in 1975 (+ 85% over seven years only).
In 1969, the building of a ZUP (Zone à urbaniser en priorité) was decided; within ten years, several modern housing estates (grands ensembles) were created, covering an area of 200 ha and including 8,300 flats. Due to the crisis of the textile industry, the TASE factory, purchased by Rhône-Poulenc in 1971, was eventually closed in 1980. Vaulx-en-Velin turned into a place hit by unemployment and destitution.

On 7-8 October 1990, the Mas-du-Taureau borough was scoured by urban riots that broke out after the death of a biker in a controversial accident with a police car. Vaulx-en-Velin became one of the emblematic banlieues (suburbs), deemed outlawed zones. The main consequence of the riots was the speed-up of the projects started a few years ago by the government to improve the situation of the suburbs. The project culminated with the creation on 21 December 1990 of a State Ministry in charge of Urban Policy (Ministère de la Ville). Like in many other places, dramatic operations of "urban requalifications" were performed in Vaulx; some huge towers and housing estates built in the 1960s as the core of the ZUP were suppressed and replaced by more modern buildings. The grounds of the former TASE factory and the neighboring workers' estates were transformed in a business park.

Source: Vaulx-en-Velin n'est plus une banlieue, website of the Lyon Municipal Library

Ivan Sache, 30 September 2011


Flag of Vaulx-en-Velin

The flag of Vaulx-en-Velin (photo, Town Hall) white with the municipal logo in the middle.

Olivier Touzeau, 30 September 2011


The flag quarrel in Vaulx-en-Velin

On 30 June 2010, the Mayor of Vaulx-en-Velin ordered the hoisting of the Palestinian flag in front of the Town Hall, together with the European Union and France flags. In September 2010, the Préfet of the Department of Rhône sent a letter to the Mayor, ordering him to remove the Palestinian flag from the Town Hall, "for the sake of neutrality of public services". The Mayor did not obey, neither did he to a second letter sent in January 2011 by the new Préfet (news).
On 29 June 2011, the Administrative Court, following submission of the case by the Préfet, confirmed his order (news).

On 8 July, the Palestinian flag was removed while a "solidarity tarp" charged with the flags of Palestine, Nicaragua and Armenia, representing three towns twinned with Vaulx-en-Velin, Beit Sahour, Sabaco and Artik, was placed on the town hall (municipal website).

Olivier Touzeau, 30 September 2011