Conversion of former industrial premises into housing is certainly a marginal phenomenon, but it reveals social innovations in the upper fringes of the middle classes. Several authors have seen in the multiplication of lofts the effect of the market absorption of the artistic critique and a growing demand for a distinctive kind of housing. The analysis of five cases of people who converted old industrial buildings in the Bas Montreuil, near Paris, reveals other explanations for such a residential choice. For the generation of the “new middle classes”, who settled there in the 1980s, these spaces allowed for the creation of alternative housing norms and gave significance to their new social position. For their successors, settled in the 2000s, converting industrial premises is a way of revaluing non-financial resources and to compensate for a position on the housing market that is weakened by precarious employment.
- middle classes
- social trajectories