The essay deals with the history of recent urban politics in France, with particular attention to the chronologic evolution of the politique de la ville and the creation of the quartier sensibile category. The starting point is the origin of French urban politics, where the quarter or district is considered the minimum territorial unity. In the second part, the essay analyses the banlieue riots, which started in the early 1980s, considered as being highly influential on French town planning policies. It also analyses the most important laws, parliamentary debates, changes in cabinets, new reforms and the growth of priority geography concluding with the most recent banlieue riots, as well as recent critics on the whole system of the politique de la ville.
Keywords: France Urban riots Urban politics/Politique de la ville Urban quartier