Over one hundred years ago, in reaction to worsening living conditions resulting from the first industrial revolution, the French mouvement ouvrier (workers’ movement) was launched on May 1, 1906 to fight for the eight-hour working day. This was not only a fight for better working conditions, but for better living conditions that the labor organizations of the time were trying to improve through daily pragmatic actions and by opening the caisses de secours mutuel (mutual aid funds), the bourses du travail (labor exchange), through popular literature and workers’ leisure. The idea was to achieve a better work–life balance for everyone.

Today, we work less than eight hours, but then replace that time with hours of transport and leisures that are often meek in social contact, and sleep that is becoming a pathology linked to the stress of urban life.

A smart city is something between the pursuit of the work of the utopists, beyond Ebenezer Howard in England and the US, with the development of social housing in France that did not resemble the modern uniform and miserable tower blocks that begin to appear in the 1950s. Between 1921 and 1933 in Stains (Seine-Saint-Denis), the Office public des habitations bon marché du département de la Seine built a total of 1,640 social housing units, including 480 detached houses, which remains one of the prettiest examples of garden cities. These systems of life – which exist today and present an example for urbanist formations – were ...

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