Parisians Are Pledging Allegiance to the ‘Republic of Super Neighbors.' They Must Bring Cheese.

The movement, which has no formal name, is based on the simple idea that getting to know the people who live near you can make cities more livable.The movement has no formal name, but is based on the idea that getting to know your neighbors can make cities more livable.

Parisians Are Pledging Allegiance to the ‘Republic of Super Neighbors.' They Must Bring Cheese.

A series on how cities change and their impact on daily life.

The sky turned lemon yellow one evening in Paris. About 50 people marched to the Rue de l'Aude, in the south part of the city. They gathered inside a nautically-themed loft filled with chairs.

Some attendees had been close friends and acquaintances for years; others had seen each other on the streets a few times. Others were meeting for the first time. All had met their entry requirements: to bring cheese.

I took a wheel from Epoisses

Benjamin Dard, a participant, commented that his wife was from Burgundy. This is a region known for its pungent and delicious cow's milk.

Mr. Dard stated that 'everyone bought something related to themselves, paying homage to France's diversity'. He said, "It's as if de Gaulle had asked: How can you govern a nation where there are over 300 kinds of cheese?"

The Talking Cheese, a meet-up that combines dairy products with local experts discussing their expertise on a variety of topics, is just one of the many activities organized by

The Republic of Super Neighbors

The initiative is a grass-roots movement that spans around 50 streets of the 14th arrondissement on the Left Bank of the Seine.

Over 1,200 members of this group, dubbed Super Neighbors, communicate through 40 WhatsApp groups that are dedicated to specific queries such as finding a pet sitter or asking for help with broken appliances. The group holds weekly brunches and post-work drinks, as well as community gatherings where older residents can share their memories with the younger generation. The group hosts an annual banquet for residents called La Table d'Aude. It is a 400 meter long table that runs through a street.

Bernard stated that urban strategy should focus on microneighborhoods or three-minute villages as he likes to call them.


Dmitry Kostyukov, The New York Times

Patrick Bernard, local resident and ex-journalist, is the man behind the hyperlocal experiment, which began in 2017. He believes that urban policy can be improved by focusing on 'the most locally based entity within a city'.

According to Mr. Bernard's estimations, Paris could have 150 urban villages. "Conviviality" is a hidden wealth. The urban fabric and citizens are transformed when we awaken a sense of place and community.

The Parisian Project, which has as its motto to turn neighbors who interacted five times a week into those who did so 50 times, is at forefront of a movement that urban planners claim is rapidly expanding to reclaim urban life from the ground up, and to recast it through a hyperlocal lens of close interaction, reciprocal support, and a feeling of neighborliness.

Proponents of the idea argue that our immediate neighborhoods are the best way to create resilience and mitigate the increasing number of urban crises, such as loneliness, food security, extreme heat, and social unrest related to inequality.

As witnessed by the riots in Paris and other French cities during this summer

They say that the cities of tomorrow must be villages of public spaces, neighborhoods and neighbourhoods.

Bernard stated that he wanted to make sure no one was left out in Paris, a city where many minorities feel they are marginalized, both socially and physically. Super Neighbors includes Black, Muslim, and East Asian residents. The participation is free. The participation is free.

Ramon Marrades is the director of

Placemaking Europe

A network of European organisations aiming to revitalize the public space. "A properly inclusive policy allows residents the opportunity to be active in their community, have a strong sense of belonging and invest emotionally."

The 'Secret of Success' has been a topic of much discussion.

15-minute city

The concept is based on the idea that residents can meet all of their basic needs in 15 minutes by walking or biking. The challenge is how to implement this vision locally. The 15-minute-city provides the physical infrastructure that is needed, but the 3-minute-city is all about tailoring it to meet the needs of the local community.

Marrades is currently in the middle of an ongoing project to create a link between the two.

two-year collaboration

With 15 European cities, including Helsinki, Finland and Cork in Ireland, we are embedding hyperlocality and building community at the heart of urban policy.

Hyperlocality is a theme that many cities are exploring. Barcelona will create 503


The city will be divided into 400-by400-meter neighbourhoods that are centered on green space, community projects and mobility. A plan for One-Minute Cities in Sweden aims to transform all Swedish streets into 'healthy and vibrant' streets by 2030.

movable street furniture

During the pilot stage, people in Stockholm and other cities spent 400% more time outdoors.

Barcelona has 503


Microneighborhoods are focused on green space, mobility, and community projects.


Ajuntament de Barcelona

Swedish cities like Sodertalje are making their streets a more social place.


Daniel McCarthy, via ArkDes

Vancouver, for example, was built on a grid of streetcars dating back to 1886. This city is a perfect canvas for promoting neighborship. "The hyperlocal is the answer for social resilience," said

Scot Hein

Professor at the University of British Columbia, and former urban planner of Vancouver City Hall. Mr. Hein imagines the city to be divided into 120 "community catchments," areas with a school, mixed-housing, and a commercial area for shops and jobs.

The hyperlocal approach is gaining more and more support from policymakers. U.N. Habitat launched the Sustainable Urban Development Initiative in June.

Global Observatory of Sustainable Proximities

This urban planning model is described as a 'key enabler' capable of fostering well-being for humans and climate action.

In Paris, in June, the authorities voted for a new

Local Urbanism Plan

The new law includes a number of measures to strengthen neighborhoods, make it easier for local businesses to open, add more restrictions to holiday rentals that are short-term, and ban '

dark stores

Critics say that 'closed-off delivery hubs are a problem for ecommerce

The local community does not benefit from the development of these projects. Resilience strategy for the city


Last year, it was suggested that encouraging "neighbors" to occupy and activate public spaces could help transform 'challenges' of the century into opportunities.

"Paris has made closeness the norm, regardless of mayor changes," said

Carlos Moreno

Professor, a Paris-based professor who is behind the concept 15-minute cities, has advised cities such as Medellin in Colombia and Dakar in Senegal. This will allow for regeneration on three different levels: economic, ecological and social.

Compost bins have been installed in the 14th district of Paris. The bins are able to process 60 tons organic waste per year. An abnormally high rate of 98 percent is correctly deposited.


Dmitry Kostyukov, The New York Times

The Republic of Super Neighbors' Talking Cheese Event highlights the wealth of information that can be found within a neighborhood. At one event, Mr. Dard, a French TV channel TF1 fact-checking expert and verification specialist, spoke about fake news. A neighbor had previously spoken about her experience as a magistrate at a criminal court. An astrophysicist is soon to speak about black holes.

Mr. Dard said, "It is absolutely wonderful here." His neighbors looked after his cats, watered his garden, and watched over his plants when he went on vacation. The atmosphere is truly unique.

Marie-Benedicte Loze (37), a charity worker, who moved into the area last summer, lost her purse several months ago. However, it was recovered by a neighbour in perfect condition. She said, 'The sense of community in this area is wonderful.' It's not like that all the time in a big city.

The group's goals are more lofty, however, and include health, mobility, and climate. Bernard says that by encouraging residents to emotionally and physically invest in the public spaces where they live, they are less likely to leave trash or cigarette stubs. This will reduce cleaning costs.

He said that 'Conviviality' is a powerful economic agent.

Mr. Bernard, who is the creator of the Super Neighbors project, said that "conviviality" is a wealth that is asleep. When we awaken a sense of place and belonging, both the urban fabric and the citizens are transformed.


Dmitry Kostyukov, The New York Times

Collaboration with nonprofit

Les Alchimistes

The group has placed several compost bins throughout the neighborhood. They are used by 800 Super Neighbors to process 60 tons organic waste per year. An abnormally high 98% of the waste is correctly deposited. The project has been so successful that City Hall agreed to spend an additional 31,000 euros (about $34,000) to install eight more.

The city of Toronto has provided support for the project.

Budget Participatory

The Republic of Super Neighbors, which gives citizens the opportunity to vote on municipal expenditures, has already transformed a neglected public square into an exciting events space. It is now applying for funding in order to purchase communal ebike chargers as well as an electric cargo bicycle for residents who need to transport their goods locally. The group aims to open a local medical center in the future.

The group is looking at ways to expand its reach.

It is possible to replicate and scale up the vision of cities that are shaped in the likeness of their residents and powered by the bonds they share. The answer, according to the company, is the creation of paid and trained roles called Friends of the Neighborhood that coordinate each district.

Mr. Bernard stated that people have started to listen. Everyone wants their neighborhood like ours. We need to figure out how we can make our approach systemic, and adapt it to different challenges and contexts in every city.