As part of their Intercultural Communication and Leadership (ICL) course, student went on a tour of immigrant neighborhood « Le Mirail ». They were introduced with architect Candilis original design for the area: a project for developing social diversity in a friendly and green environment. Students could compare and contrast initial plans with the reality of today’s social life. With unemployment rate at almost 50%, the neighborhood is striving to maintain community life through a large number of non-profit organizations. People there also have to face the harmful impact of its reputation that only shows and often distorts one side of the story.
Students’ ICL assignment was to write a one-page reflection on their experience there based on their observations and their knowledge of Toulouse city center to compare and contrast with this other part of the city.
Sean: It struck me as well when our guide told us the story of how the man got rejected for his job based on where he lived. The fact that a whole neighborhood can be classified as such to the point where his interviewer did not even look at the resume makes me cringe.Ben: It made me sad to see such a proactive and somewhat futuristic project turn into something so run-down but the community still seems to be thriving.
Macayla: The pond and green areas made me feel entirely different, though. Aside from the gardens in Toulouse, it was the first time that I felt close to nature in the city. The pond was calming and I could see myself hanging around there on my own time. It was a drastically different feeling from the rest of the neighborhood because of this.
Barrett: I believe that this tour was given to us in order to show us that things aren’t always as they appear, considering that La Reynerie is now considered a fairly dangerous neighborhood, but in reality, it was not like that at all.
Claire: We learned that two men had worked together to create the neighborhood and each detail of the city’s structure served a purpose for the betterment of the community.
Anna: My overall experience in Mirail was extremely positive and filled with friendly interactions, beautiful scenery, and extremely fascinating history. It made me very sad to hear the tale of the demise of the Mirail from a bustling utopia to a down-trodden immigrant neighborhood.
Ashley: From my experiences with impoverished communities, it is usually the people on the outside that do more harm to the community than the people who live there.