Urban planning, housing and land policy

Flagship projects

Logically, the flagship projects in the field of urban planning are to be found in cross-border conurbations. The conurbations of Geneva and Basel on the French-Swiss and French-German-Swiss borders, the conurbation of Esch-sur-Alzette at the France-Luxembourg border, and the twin towns of Tornio and Haparanda on 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 deconcentration” (multi-polar model) on the France-Luxembourg border. Initiated by the Grand Duchy, the project is developing a new urban centre (around the University of Luxembourg, around an employment hub, public facilities, and commercial facilities) in the face of the decline of the mining and steel-making sectors in the region. Involving an area of French territory, the project has many cross-border implications, notably on the creation of housing (8,600 homes on the French side, and 7,000 in Luxembourg). On the French side of the border, the Alzette-Belval public development agency  (EPA – Établissement public d’aménagement) is in charge of steering the Operation of National Interest (OIN; legal perimeter allowing the transfer to the State of certain competences in matters of urban planning) created for the occasion.

GREATER GENEVA: A COOPERATION BASED ON CROSS-BORDER URBAN DEVELOPMENT

The building of new homes is a particularly complex issue for the cross-border conurbation of Greater Geneva . Through the 2012 conurbation plan and the concerted metropolitan development areas (PACA) , the institutional players of the region are advocating a ‘compact’ urban planning approach, by way of development that is more economical with land use and resources, tightly focused around existing centres and served by efficient public transport. As an example, the Ferney-Genève Innovation ZAC  (joint development zone) in the Pays de Gex forms part of this process of urban and economic development of the France-Vaud-Geneva conurbation. This development programme covers 65 hectares of commercial and office space (195,000 m2), housing (2,500 new homes, 30% of which will be social housing), leisure spaces and public facilities (15,000 m2). Total investment for this programme is projected to reach a billion euros (public-private funding).

IBA BASEL: AMBITIOUS URBAN AND ARCHITECTURAL PROJECTS FOR THE BASEL TRINATIONAL METROPOLITAN AREA

Within the territory of the Trinational Eurodistrict Basel , on the French-German-Swiss border, the IBA Basel 2020  international architecture exhibition represents an urban planning tool for the cross-border development of the Basel conurbation. IBA Basel is a catalyst for the implementation of ambitious urban and architectural projects.
Certain development projects are situated right on the borders, such as the 3Land  project. This planned trinational district includes integration with public transport networks, new bridges, development of the banks of the Rhine and the construction of new buildings. The project is intended to accommodate 10,000 new residents and 13,000 jobs.

THE TWIN CITIES OF TORNIO HAPARANDA: URBAN PROJECTS “ON THE BORDER”

At the Finnish-Swedish border, cooperation between the twin towns of Tornio and Haparanda  is particularly advanced. One of the most concrete results of the cooperation is without doubt the creation of a new district straddling the border. Launched in 1995 with an architectural competition, construction began in 2005. This new district includes housing and commercial space. As soon as 2006, the Swedish company IKEA set up a new store within the conurbation and was quickly followed by other businesses, creating around 1,500 jobThe project has also helped to bring together players at regional and national level, with competences in the field of urban and spatial planning.