Sensitive urban zone

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A sensitive urban zone (French: Zone urbaine sensible, ZUS) is an urban area in France defined by the authorities to be a high-priority target for city policy, taking into consideration local circumstances related to the problems of its residents.[1]

There are 751 sensitive urban zones in France, including 718 in mainland France.[1] The government has published the list of zones and maps of each one.[2]

Social problems within the zones[edit]

Nearly five million people live in zones of difficulty.[1]

Their problems include:

French Government policy[edit]

A law passed November 14, 1996 created sensitive urban zones (ZUS) and urban tax-free zones (ZFU). 752 of these zones were created in France, including 718 in mainland France.[1] The law of November 14, 1996 (which implements a renewed urban policy) distinguishes three levels of intervention:

  • Sensitive urban zones (Zones urbaines sensibles, ZUS)
  • Urban renewal zones (Zones de redynamisation urbaine, ZRU)
  • Urban tax-free zones (Zones franches urbaines, ZFU)

The three levels of intervention (ZUS, ZRU and ZFU), characterized by fiscal and social measures of increasing importance, target the difficulties encountered in these districts with differing degrees of response.[1] Contrary to generally accepted ideas, these sensitive districts are in the center of cities and not just the outskirts.[3]

The situation in these areas in difficulty was (until recently) difficult to evaluate precisely, based on many statistics which were inadequate in certain areas, scattered or badly collected. To remedy these problems and more accurately measure the effect of policy implementation, the National Observatory of Sensitive Urban Zones (ZUS) was created in a law passed on August 1, 2003.[4]

These ZUS are distributed throughout 490 communes and include 4.7 million inhabitants. Among them a subset of 416 zones of urban renewal (ZRU) was created, including 396 in mainland France. The ZRU contain 3.2 million inhabitants, and present unique challenges. Almost all departments are affected; the only exceptions are nine strongly agricultural departments.[5]

January 2015 controversy[edit]

In January 2015, after the Charlie Hebdo shooting, Fox News labeled the SUZ as "no-go zone".[6] French media agencies denied these claims.[7][8] After complaints Fox News issued an apology:

Over the course of this last week we have made some regrettable errors on air, regarding the Muslim population in Europe, particularly with regard to England and France. This applies especially to discussions of so-called no-go zones, areas where non-Muslims allegedly aren’t allowed in, and police supposedly won’t go. To be clear, there is no formal designation of these zones in either country, and no credible information to support the assertion there are specific areas in these countries that exclude individuals based solely on their religion. There are, certainly, areas of high crime in Europe, as there are in the United States and other countries, where police and visitors enter with caution. We deeply regret the errors and apologise to any and all who may have taken offence, including the people of France and England.[9][10][11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e
  2. ^
  3. ^ "La carte des ZUS commentée par Christophe Guilluy",, June 1, 2006
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ fox news jan 12 2015
  7. ^ "Eating and drinking in the no-go zones" - parisbymouth
  8. ^ See also
  9. ^ Fox News apologises - the video
  10. ^ Fox News apologises (Guardian)
  11. ^ Fox News apologises (Washington Post)