Communauté de communes du Pays de Gex
50 rue Gustave Eiffel
01630 Saint Genis Pouilly
+33 (0)4 50 42 65 00
+33 (0)4 50 42 65 00


Golden Rectangle (Rectangle d'or)

Countries: France, Switzerland
Border(s): France-Switzerland,
Greater Geneva,
European programme(s):
Interreg IIIA - France-Switzerland
- Land and housing
- Spatial planning and development
- Economic development
- Transport

Lead partner: Communauté de Communes du Pays de Gex

The Rectangle d'or is one of the ten projects set out in the Charte d'aménagement de l'agglomération franco-valdo-genevoise (Development Charter of the Franco-Vaud-Geneva conurbation). Drawn up by the Comité Régional Franco-Genevois (Franco-Geneva Regional Committee) between 1992 and 1997, these projects are intended to enhance the distribution of business activities and jobs within the Franco-Vaud-Geneva conurbation by developing, in particular, new centres of business activity. The Rectangle d'or project has the specific aim of creating a multisectoral business hub around Geneva's Cointrin airport. It is motivated by the fact that a de facto business hub has established itself, over the last 20 years, on the land situated between the airport runways and the motorway on an area entirely within Swiss territory. This now functions as an important focus of service industry activity within the conurbation by bringing together a range of businesses, multinational headquarters, an international exhibition centre (Palexpo), hotels with conference facilities, entertainment venues and so forth. The area concerned (2 500 to 3 000 hectares) is very busy and intensively developed, and is therefore associated with a range of problems resulting from the widely varying nature of the types of businesses located there and the traffic and transportation problems that result. In addition, the area has reached saturation point and cannot be significantly developed any further. To the west of the airport, in contrast, the French municipalities of Prévessin-Moëns and Ferney-Voltaire close to the town of Gex offer a better variety of available sites that could be used for new business start-up activities. The project therefore involves rethinking the whole of the zone by taking a more balanced approach to developments on both sides of the border.


  • Comité Régional Franco-Genevois (Franco-Geneva Regional Committee) (CRFG)
  • Communauté de Communes du Pays de Gex (Pays de Gex Municipal Community)
  • Canton of Geneva (Département de l´aménagement, de l´équipement et du logement (DAEL) et Département de l´économie, de l´emploi et des affaires extérieures (DEEE)) (the Department of Development, Infrastructure and Accommodation (DAEL), and the Department of Finance, Employment and External Affairs (DEEE))
  • Canton of Vaud
  • Geneva International Airport
  • The French government (préfecture de région et préfecture de l´Ain) (Prefecture for the region and the Prefecture for the Department of the Ain)
  • The Rhone-Alpes region
  • The Department of the Ain
  • The Swiss municipalities of Bellevue, le Grand-Saconnex, Vernier and Meyrin
  • The French municipalities of Ferney, Ornex, Prévessin-Moens and St-Genis-Pouilly
  • The Department of Haute Savoie
  • Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (French public funding body)

Project goals

Firstly, the project involves renaming the existing Swiss sector - the current Rectangle d´or - and secondly, creating a new business zone to the west of the airport in the Gex area. Another aim is to set up cross-border transport facilities, including the creation of new roads and public transport links and the development of a country park on both sides of the airport that is intended to help preserve the surrounding wildlife habitats.

Target group(s)

The population of the area concerned (approximately 80 000) and the companies already based within or likely to move into the development area.

Project activities

1997 - 1999:

  • Studies dealing with the perimeter of the Rectangle d´or" initiated under the Development Charter of the Franco-Vaud-Geneva conurbation

Year 2000:

  • Coordinating committee set up with responsibility for driving the project forward, ensuring that it progresses to the operational phase, and establishing the roles to be played by different public and private-sector partners
  • Project manager nominated
  • A range of expert activities initiated to reinforce the concept of a commercial hub and the international dimension of Geneva:
    - strengthening of business activities related specifically to the operation of the airport;
    - creation of structures associated with the proximity of CERN;
    - increasing the hotel capacity available at Geneva for international guests;
    - technological development (telecommunications-related) of the currently used sites.
    These expert activities also dealt with economic factors and the achievement of the project, which would certainly not come to fruition without the support of private investors (banks and institutional investors)


  • Project launch
  • Cross-border development and planning initiated, with an area management plan in Switzerland and a sectoral programme in France run under the auspices of the schéma de cohérence territoriale (territorial coherence programme) (SCOT)


  • Projects rolled out
  • Creation of a joint project management structure


  • Site-work begins

Project duration

2005 - 2020

Total cost

639 545 €

EU funding

100 000 €