The large scale riots in Paris in 2005, following the death of two boys who were hiding from police in an electricity sub station in Clichy-sous-Bois, shook France to its core. Four years later the suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis, northeast of Paris, where the riots originated, is still one of France’s most socially deprived urban regions. Home to one and a half million people, the suburb is commonly known as “neuf trois”, named after its administrative number of the department and postal code. Seine-Saint-Denis is one of the “banlieue”, urban areas outside large cities in France that are heavily populated by immigrant communities and often stigmatised by politicians and the media.
Despite government commitment to reduce its deplorable social statistics, Seine-Saint-Denis continues to suffer from high unemployment, worrying crime levels and low education results. Only nine per cent of its population has proof of completed further education compared to 38 per cent in Paris, 8 km away. I walked around the suburb’s most troubled areas this summer and took these photographs.