Tag Archives: Nicolas Sarkozy

Grand Paris Takes Off

The future of Paris was born last week.

After several years of gestation, the French government has announced concrete measures that will transform the institutional structure of Greater Paris and massively expand the public transportation network to tie together the whole urban region.

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Densifying Paris

For years, the urban agenda in Paris revolved around the preservation of the historical core, the expansion of the metropolis on its rural fringes, and the development of selected locations such as La Défense. But now the focus has shifted toward a more comprehensive development of the existing city, especially in the area outside the historical core, with a view to densifying the entire metropolitan footprint.

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The Struggle for a Bigger Paris

In many cities, growth has led to a situation where the metropolitan area is considerably bigger than the city proper. Paris, where the city limits remain frozen as they were in 1860, is an extreme case of this phenomenon.

Today only 21% of dwellers of the Parisian “urban unit” live in the municipality of Paris, which covers a scant 4% of the metropolitan territory. This situation hampers policy development and implementation for the metropolis and is increasingly seen as an unnecessary handicap for Paris in the global competition among cities.

The question, in this election year, is whether Paris will be able to achieve its first expansion in more than 150 years, whether it will finally be able to give itself a government at the scale of the metropolis.

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Le Grand Paris – Part 4: Where Things Stand

[Note: this is the 4th and final part of a series. If you have not yet read them, you may want to first read Part 1: The LaunchPart 2: The International Consultation, and Part 3: Moving To Implementation]

On October 10, 2011, President Nicolas Sarkozy was back at the Cité de l’Architecture for what had by now become a tradition of a biennial visit. He summarized where Le Grand Paris stood:

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Le Grand Paris – Part 3: Moving to Implementation

[Note: this is part 3 of a series. If you have not yet read them, you may want to first read Part 1: The Launch and Part 2: The International Consultation]

On April 29th, 2009, the day of the opening of the public display of the work of the ten teams of the international consultation, President Sarkozy gave a speech. His words were ambitious: “[The future city] may be  the greatest political challenge of the twenty-first century. I want France to meet that challenge. I want France to give the example. That is the ambition of Le Grand Paris.

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