This research uses the case of Le Creusot to examine the relations between a town and its inhabitants. Le Creusot is a French town with a rich industrial past but which finds itself today in a situation of reconversion and industrial diversification.Through a study of the representation of the town, three interdependent aspects of the relation between the population and its urban environment are investigated: a temporal aspect which aims to examine how the population articulates the relation between the industrial past, a present-day situation of reconversion and an uncertain future; an identity aspect interested in how the population identifies with the town and how it represents the image of the town presented to others; a structural aspect which focuses on the appropriation of urban space in a town which has no unified town centre, the consequence of its construction around the factories.It is hypothesized that the social position of the inhabitants as well as their place and duration of residence in the town will have an impact on the relations they sustain with their urban environment, and thus on their representation of the town.The representation identified reveals complex relations between the population and its urban environment with social differentiations concerning the three aspects studied. For example, it tends to be workers and low education-level employees who accentuate the scale and wealth of Le Creusot in the past and who represent Le Creusot today in decline and with unemployment. However, the future of Le Creusot for these categories of the population is more ambivalent – between optimism, uncertainty and pessimism.