After two residential buildings in Marseille collapsed on November 5, killing eight people, the city’s residents have taken to social media to draw attention to the poor living conditions in the city. Local newspaper La Marseillaise initiated the hashtag #BalanceTonTaudis, or #ShowYourSlum, and locals are using it to publish photos and videos of dilapidated buildings.

On November 7, La Marseillaise started an online survey to gather photos, videos and comments about the sometimes dangerous housing conditions in Marseille. They named the project #ShowYourSlum, and used it to collect information about substandard accommodation in the city and to answer citizens’ questions. The project was launched in collaboration with various housing charities.

The hashtag was used dozens of times online, particularly on Twitter, where users used it to draw attention to dirty and dilapidated apartment buildings or schools.


Translation: #ShowYourSlum. This is Clovis Hugues street, in the Belle de Mai neighbourhood in the 3rd arrondissement. A bit further up, another building has cracks that are ‘being looked at’. One of the buildings is empty but not the one next to it. #Marseille #GaudinSTEPDOWN! #timeforrevolution

Translation: We need to talk about the situation in Marseille and the image that the mayor gives of the city… This is a building in the ‘Panier’ neighbourhood that has had a ‘hazardous’ warning on it for two years now #SHOWYOURSLUM


Translation: #ShowYourSlum. National primary school in the 3rd arrondissement: cockroaches, flooded classrooms and courtyard, a ceiling that’s falling down, dilapidated toilets…
 

Translation: #ShowYourSlum. Busserade school in the 3rd arrondissement. This is what happens when you make a school out of portacabins!

On Facebook, the architect Gérard Martin published a series of old photos taken during an inspection of a building on the rue d’Aubagne – the same street where the two buildings collapsed on November 5, killing five men and three women. Martin describes the photos as showing “an example of a type of housing that is far too common on this street and elsewhere in Marseille”.

He continues: “Here, rich owners and slumlords are entirely aware of the poor conditions – and they don’t live there, of course. They are only motivated by what we’ve now seen is murderous greed. These photos are from an inspection in 2006 that led to a proposal to refurbish the staircase. But the owners in the building decided that the renovation work would be too expensive and instead ignored the problems by filling in the holes and papering over the cracks…”
 


La Marseillaise is planning to use these stories to organise a debate on the state of the housing market in Marseille.

Almost 13 percent of housing in Marseille is in poor condition, according to a 2013 report carried out by the Ministry of Housing, in contrast with only 6 percent on average across the rest of France.

The hashtag has also been used in other towns, with users from Paris to Lyon drawing attention to derelict accommodation.


Translation: Luckily the #ShowYourSlum movement hasn’t got as far as @aubervilliers93 ! (PS: people live here)

Translation: New, but already a dump... #ShowYourSlum