Burn marks on the side of the shelter, due top open near Paris' Bois de Boulogne in November. Jacky Naegelen/Reuters

Scheduled to open in November, the shelter has drawn controversy for its location.  

As Americans wrestle with the fallout from an act of politically targeted arson, Parisians awoke this morning to their own firebombing controversy: At some point last night, an as-yet-unopened homeless shelter in the city’s tony 16th arrondissement was set alight. As Citylab reported in March, the new building has been controversial since it was proposed: Located on a sliver of parkland in one of Paris’ wealthiest areas, the shelter attracted the anger of local residents who felt that it could put them at risk of crime and possibly hurt the value of their properties. Passionate resistance to the shelter—which involved public denunciations of Paris’ Mayor Hidalgo as a “slut” at a rowdy public meeting and a petition against the plan that gained 50,000 signatures—has not dissipated as the shelter prepares to open in November.  

Now it seems like that anger has spilled over into action. Police were called this morning after workers at the site found that its wooden walls had been charred. Two discarded bottles of gasoline suggest that the unknown arsonist intended to inflict far more damage.

The city, meanwhile, insists that the incident will not change plans to open the small shelter, which will have 200 temporary accommodation places. It would be the arrondissement’s only shelter.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Life

    Who’s Really Buying Property in San Francisco?

    A lot of software developers, according to an unprecedented new analysis.

  2. Environment

    No, Puerto Rico’s New Climate-Change Law Is Not a ‘Green New Deal’

    Puerto Rico just adopted legislation that commits it to generating all its power from renewable sources. Here’s what separates that from what’s going on in D.C.

  3. A toddler breathes from a nebulizer while sitting in a crib.
    Environment

    How Scientists Discovered What Dirty Air Does to Kids’ Health

    The landmark Children’s Health Study tracked thousands of children in California over many years—and transformed our understanding of air pollution’s harms.

  4. a photo of a beach in Hawaii
    Transportation

    Could Hawaii Be Paradise For Hydrogen-Powered Public Transit?

    As prices drop for renewable power, some researchers hope the island state could be the ideal testbed for hydrogen fuel cells in public transportation.

  5. A large crowd packs Independence Mall, with Philadelphia buildings in the background.
    Environment

    What Happened to Earth Day?

    In the beginning, it was a policy-shaking event that awakened a new generation of activists. But now even environmentalists have misgivings about it.