Spatial planning and develoment
Cross-border conurbations represent the best examples of cross-border urban planning projects. The conurbations of Geneva and Basel at the French-Swiss and French-German-Swiss borders, the Esch-sur-Alzette conurbation on the border between France and Luxembourg and the twin towns Tornio and Haparanda at the Finnish-Swedish border are particularly advanced in this field.
ESCH-BELVAL: A NEW TOWN ON THE FRANCE-LUXEMBOURG BORDER
The Esch Belval project is an ambitious project of "centralised devolution" (multipolar model) on the France-Luxembourg border. Initiated by the Grand Duchy, the project is developing a new urban centre (around the University of Luxembourg, and a hub for employment, public infrastructure and shopping facilities) in the face of the decline of the mining and steelmaking sectors of the region. Involving a portion of French territory, the project has numerous cross-border implications, notably for the creation of new homes (8600 on the French side, and over 7000 in Luxembourg).
On the French side the Alzette-Belval public development agency is in charge of managing the Operation of National Interest (OIN) (a legal perimeter enabling the transfer of certain competences in matters of urban planning to the state) created for the occasion.
GREATER GENEVA: COOPERATION BASED ON CROSS-BORDER URBAN DEVELOPMENT
The spatial planning and development of a conurbation as dynamic as Greater Geneva represents a considerable challenge. Three territorial projects have been developed, in 2007, 2012 and 2016. The most recent document, entitled Projet de territoire Grand Genève 2016-2030, aims to set out a sustainable long-term vision for the territory. It is founded upon three constitutive strategies: urbanisation, mobility and environment.
The institutional players of the region advocate "compact" urbanisation, via an urban development approach that is more economical with land use and resources, focused around existing centres, and served by efficient public transport.
For example, the Ferney-Genève Innovation ZAC (joint development zone) in the Pays de Gex is in line with this economic and urban development process in the France-Vaud-Geneva conurbation, leading up to the year 2030. The development programme includes 65 hectares of retail and office space (195,000 m² of floor space), homes (2500 of which 30% will be social housing), leisure space and public facilities (15,000 m²). Total investment for this programme could reach a billion euros (public-private funding).
3LAND - IBA BASEL 2020: AMBITIOUS URBAN AND ARCHITECTURAL PROJECTS FOR THE BASEL TRINATIONAL METROPOLITAN AREA
Within the territory of the Basel Trinational Eurodistrict at the French-German-Swiss border, the international architectural exhibition IBA Basel 2020 is instrumental in urban planning for the cross-border development of the Basel conurbation. Taking place over ten years, IBA Basel is a catalyst for the realisation of ambitious urban and architectural projects.
Certain development projects are situated directly on the borders, like the 3Land project. This project for a trinational neighbourhood includes the linking up of public transport infrastructure, construction of bridges, development of the banks of the Rhine and the construction of new buildings. The project is intended to host around 10,000 new residents and 13,000 jobs.
THE GRAND EST “SRADDET”: A REGIONAL PLANNING FRAMEWORK WITH A CROSS-BORDER COMPONENT
Cross-border concerns are at the heart of the Grand Est SRADDET (Regional Framework for Spatial Planning, Sustainable Development and Territorial Equality), provided for in the NOTRe Act (New Territorial Organisation of the Republic). As part of the process of producing this framework, the primary regional planning document of mandatory and prescriptive nature, four “co-construction” seminars were held for cross-border players in 2017, on the topics of spatial planning and development, transport, water and biodiversity, and climate, air and energy.
Forty strategic objectives were then defined within the framework of the Grand Est SRADDET, of which four concern the fields of spatial planning and development, urban planning, and housing:
- Promoting high quality urban planning for attractive town centres and villages adapted to climate risks
- Putting mobility at the centre of urban planning
- Adapting housing to demographic trends, the energy transition and new lifestyles
- Promoting citizens’ responsibility, encouraging participative processes and dialogue
The urban planning agencies of the Grand Est region also contributed to the production of the SRADDET with their publication Enjeux et défis transfrontaliers : Volet transfrontalier du SRADDET Grand Est (Cross-border Issues and Challenges: Cross-border Component of the Grand Est SRADDET).
THE TWIN TOWNS OF TORNIO HAPARANDA: URBAN PROJECTS "ON THE BORDER"
On the Finnish-Swedish border, the cooperation between the twin towns of Tornio and Haparanda is particularly advanced. One of the more tangible results of the cooperation is without doubt the creation of a new neighbourhood straddling the border. Launched in 1995 with an architectural competition, construction began in 2005. This new neighbourhood includes residential and commercial space. In 2006, the Swedish company IKEA established a new store there, and was quickly followed by other businesses, creating around 1500 new jobs. This project has also brought together the regional and national levels of government, holding competences in matters of spatial development and urban planning. The two municipalities decided to be known under a single name: “Tornio-Haparanda”.
KOMARNO AND KOMAROM: A COMMON SPATIAL PLANNING PROJECT
The towns Komárno and Komárom on the border between Slovakia and Hungary share the same history; with the production of a Spatial Development Plan in 2012, they have chosen to share the same future.
The objective of the common spatial planning project is to exploit the comparative advantages on either side of the border, while also creating a balanced and optimal development framework for the best living conditions for inhabitants.
The project is organised around four principal issues: increasing the importance of the cross-border conurbation at the international level, encouraging institutional development (with strengthened cooperation in the fields of education and health), improving public infrastructure and renovating historic sites and tourist attractions. Emphasis is placed on protection of the environment and sustainable development.