“Most crises striking our societies – be they social, economic, political or ecological – are rooted in a lack of collective vision, in the deadlock of individualism. The City of Rennes places the fight for social inclusion and equality at the very heart of its policies.”
– Mayor of Rennes, Nathalie Appéré
First elected as Mayor in March 2014 after being deputy mayor in charge of associative life since 2001, Nathalie Appéré is the first female mayor of Rennes. Reelected in June 2020, she was also elected President of Rennes Metropole in July 2020.
Nathalie Appéré has been a pioneer on social housing, investing major amounts in urban renewal programs and experimenting the “sole rent” since July 2018: a same rent for the whole social housing scheme as a way to provide everyone with a choice to decide where they want to live and improve social mixing.
Fostering a fair transition, both social and ecological, and improving the quality of life in Rennes, are her priorities for this new term.
Facing long-term insufficiency and saturation of state emergency accommodation facilities, the City of Rennes has pursued a proactive policy providing shelter for families with children, fulfilling the commitment made by Nathalie Appéré at the beginning of her first mandate in 2014: that no child should sleep outside.
The city provides shelter for more than 900 people, the majority of whom are children, via overnight stays in hotels (through an agreement with hotels in the area), the use of vacant municipal property, and the provision of property belonging to developers or landlords being made available for urban renewal operations. This municipal shelter system is unique in France. An emergency centre providing accommodation of up to 100 places also opened in November 2020. It offers short-term accommodation and social support to help families with administration, in partnership with institutional and associative partners.
The Sortir! scheme, set up in 2010 by the City of Rennes, then extended to the whole Metropole area, offers financial assistance to enable everybody to attend shows and take part in cultural and sports activities. The Sortir! card is means-tested to enable all residents to benefit from this dynamic scheme. 1000 organisations take part in the scheme and more than 41,000 inhabitants of the Metropole benefit from it. Sortir! Provides free and low-cost activities, covers 50-70% of the cost of other activities, and contributes financially to the organisation of activities. The program embodies a vision of living together, and is the result of a major mediation effort, built over time with city partners.
Facing the challenge of climate change, the City of Rennes has sought alternatives to single passenger car use by developing efficient and reliable public transport, and ensuring pricing remains accessible. The 2021 opening of a second metro line will place 75% of the population of Rennes within 600 metres of a metro station, while park-and-ride facilities and the redeployment of the bus service will make it possible to better connect the towns of Rennes Métropole. The city aims to avoid 50,000 car journeys per day.
In addition to improving public transport for residents, the 2nd metro line project also represents significant investment to diversify housing, invest in more energy-efficient buildings and develop economic activities around the stations. The project is guided by input provided through a process of community engagement.