🇫🇷 Roubaix is a city in northern France, located in the Lille metropolitan area on the Belgian border in the French region of Hauts-de-France. It is a historically mono-industrial commune in the Nord department, which grew rapidly in the 19th century from its textile industries, with most of the same characteristic features as those of English and American boom towns. This former new town has faced many challenges linked to deindustrialisation such as urban decay, with their related economic and social implications, since its major industries fell into decline by the middle of the 1970s. Located to the north-east of Lille, adjacent to Tourcoing, Roubaix is the chef-lieu of two cantons and the third largest city in the French region of Hauts-de-France.
Together with the nearby cities of Lille, Tourcoing, Villeneuve-d'Ascq and eighty-six other communes, Roubaix gives structure to a four-centred metropolitan area: the European Metropolis of Lille. To a greater extent, Roubaix is in the centre of a vast conurbation formed with the Belgian cities of Mouscron, Kortrijk and Tournai, which gave birth to the first European Grouping of Territorial Co-operation in January 2008, Lille–Kortrijk–Tournai.
Economy During the 19th century, Roubaix acquired an international reputation for textile industry and wool production. In the 1970s and 1980s, international competition and automation caused an industrial decline and resulted in the closure of many factories. From that moment on and since the implementation of the French urban policy in the early 1980s, around three-fourths of the town's territory has been regularly assigned specific zoning designations as well as health and welfare plans.
Roubaix's high level of unemployment is a consequence of the desindustrialisation. The town is listed among France's poorest cities. Successive local governments have tried to address difficulties associated with deindustrialisation by attracting new industries, making the most of the town's cultural credentials and organising a strong student presence on different campuses. While undergoing conversion efforts, the city is experimenting with new models and able to take advantage of successful economic stories, with online retail and information technology, and seems to be on the way to reverse the decades of decline.
Textile industry Nowadays, local textile companies are focussing on developing high-tech textile products. Commerce and services
Mail order companies of international renown such as La Redoute, Damart and 3 Suisses, stemmed from textile industries which were founded in Roubaix. Showroomprive.com has been locally established since 2016 as an e-commerce company that specialises in online flash sales.
Information technology and e-business • OVH was created in Roubaix in 1999 and became a global IT infrastructure company, creating more than thousand jobs in the city and surroundings. Its head office is still in Roubaix. • Ankama Games has established its head office in Roubaix since 2007. • Blanchemaille, an e-commerce cluster helped by the incubator EuraTechnologies, has been established in the former building of La Redoute in Roubaix since 2014.
Roubaix has a population of over 96,000 people. Roubaix also forms one of the centres of the wider Lille metropolitan area which has a population of over 2,594,456 people.
Twin Towns – Sister Cities Roubaix is twinned with: 🏴 Bradford, United Kingdom; 🇩🇪 Mönchengladbach, Germany; 🇧🇪 Verviers, Belgium; 🇲🇰 Skopje, North Macedonia; 🇮🇹 Prato, Italy; 🇵🇱 Sosnowiec, Poland; 🇵🇹 Covilhã, Portugal; 🇩🇿 Bouïra, Algeria.