Author(s): Claire Lubell
Marseille is a city with a tarnished reputation that itsimultaneously embraces and denies. Like many postindustrial,second-tier cities, it is reinventing itselfthrough a piecemeal regeneration process to createthe image of a competitive global city. Ambitiousprojects funded largely by private capital, however,exacerbate the polarization of the city, and thereforethe stereotypes which define its urban identity. Thiseditorial essay, based on historical research, fieldworkand personal experience, draws a correlation betweenMarseille’s multifaceted self-image and the evolutionof its fragmented and contested infrastructural planningto explore the limits of the city’s reinvention. As aonce thriving port and hinge between a nation and itsempire, Marseille’s status as a destination has alwaysbeen entangled with its duplicitous nature as a city atthe end of the line – either a dead end or a point ofdeparture.
Luis Francisco Rico-Gutierrez & Martha Thorne