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B-b The demand of the President Sarkozy.

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Nicolas Sarkozy announced the 17th September 2007, ten prestigious agencies of architecture had to
work on the project of Grand Paris(59) to start the symbolic construction of the Greater Paris. The 29th of
April 2009, the president Nicolas Sarkozy made a new elocution about the Great Paris, with the
analyses of the ten agencies to figure out the issues of Paris.(60)

According to the president, France is the first country in the world to think about the metropolis of the
future. Paris has to give an impulsion to the world to ensure the post-kyoto time by changing the cities,
to become more bearable to the populations “the city is made to fit to the populations; populations are
not done to fit with the city”(61).

The topic of Paris according to the president is to know how our big metropolis can have a new
prosperity, by being eco-friendly, with more social fairness. On a political point of view, the reflexion
on the Greater Paris has to be multi-political parties because the topic is not ideological but practical.

During its elocution, Nicolas Sarkozy insisted on the essentiality for a city/region to be architectural
pleasant, as it gives an essential bliss to the inhabitants(62) which is considered as an indispensable

As all the different studies we have previously seen, Paris is a global city. The president mentioned
Paris as the rival of “London, New York, Tokyo and Shanghai”, but Paris can lose its global position.

This is why Nicolas Sarkozy insisted on the fact that the objectives of the Grand Paris project do not
have only to consist to a simple enlargement of Paris within the regional borders; the city has to play
an important role on a national, continental and global scale by becoming a model and an economic
growth instrument.

The president claimed on the fact that the economic development of Paris as to be part of the European
economic development axe (Milan-London), as the risk would be to see Paris felled behind the
European Economic development, and the two main French harbours Marseille and Le Havre to be
going downhill and collapse. To avoid this, the strategy for Paris is to re-establish a new territorial
dynamic, and take the strategic decision to delineate Le Havre as the Grand Paris Harbour because of
a new organisation of Paris alongside the Seine.

In order to achieve this, the president announced that Paris and Le Have will be connected with a highspeed
line to link the two cities in one hour and the creation of a port of transformation in Paris
(Achères). According to the president it would give the possibility to manage the transportations flow,
in term of economic and sustainable development.

The sustainable development cannot be effective without any common policies of the different actors
(Paris, suburban towns, Normandy region, etc), the different entities will have to work together on the
Grand Paris. This condition is primordial in order to adapt the commercial connections to the
sustainable needs, and finally create the new city environment which fits to the new century. Indeed,
sustainable development is a major factor for Paris in term of business, respect of the environment,
and also in term of image.

In order to answer to the social distortion existing in the region, President Sarkozy analysed that there
is a real conflict between the offer and the demand on the housing market. Indeed, the problem of
distance between work and place of living of the employees has to be reduced. The president first
asked to create 70.000 habitations per year (which multiplies by 2 the rhythm of construction), as the
region has a deficit of 1.5 million of habitations to answer the future demands (horizon 2030)(63).

In order to achieve this goal, the president asked to deregulate the legislation, by increasing the
coefficient of habitation, and ease the constructions. President Sarkozy wants also to abolish the zone
policies (zone of activities, industrial zones, residential zones, etc) in order to create a diversity within
the cities.

Indeed, “a juridical decompartmentalize, will open the physical decompartmentalize”(64). As mentioned
in this sentence, the legal system has a decisive role in the building of the greater Paris. Nevertheless,
as we have seen previously, Nicolas Sarkozy assumed that transit investment will have the main role
in the elaboration of the project; as it will necessary have an impact on the Parisians companies.
Indeed, Nicolas Sarkozy asked for the construction in the suburbs, of a new high-speed station. The
president suggested to do it in Paris-La Defense (business district), or to Le Bourget (business airport)
to create a new polycentric city(65).

The president established four points that the transport policies will have to respect. The first one, is
the high speed on the regional level, the second point is the easiness for people to move from a place
to another place, the third point is to have good transports going to towns, the last point is to prefer
overhead transports rather than underground every times it is possible(66).

Nicolas Sarkozy wants to have a Greater Paris close to the Parisians needs. Indeed he assumed that
according to researches 2/3 of the intensification of the public transports use, will affect the existing
infrastructures. The president asked to prioritize the optimization of the existing infrastructures to have
public transports in suburbs as efficient as the central public transports (Metropolitan Vs. RER). An
idea of the president is to have public transports working all night long. Nicolas Sarkozy would be
favorable to see more changes in the journeys of the Parisians but more effortless, reducing the total
time of journeys spent a day as the Swiss government applied for its entire country(67). Nicolas Sarkozy
asked for the merger of RATP and SNCF in order to regulate the movements within Paris, to have an
efficient transit system, by completing the transport lines missing and improve the general

President Sarkozy also imagined the structures of the future transports “automatic, fast, important
capacities to link the different economic centre of the future”(68). Indeed the president Nicolas Sarkozy
and Christian Blanc (state secretary for the development of the capital region), had a scalable plan for
the future transportation line of Paris Ile-de-France(69). The directive schema for the development of the
transports will be changed according to the new needs or ideas identify. Nevertheless the project
realized already represents the construction of 130 kilometers of railways within Paris Ile-de-France,
with the ambition to create new connections and easiness to move for about 8 million of daily users of
the public transports.

The budget announced by the president only for the automatic transport, will reach about about €35
billion(70). Sarkozy assumed that this investment will be an answer to the crisis, which will strengthen
the entire country. Nicolas Sarkozy thinks to finance this project thanks to financial land-tax
valorization which will provide important benefits (all the constructions of transports and stations will
have a drastic impact on the house values by increasing them). The second income source will be the
increase of the use of the public transports which will also generate higher profits and the breakeven
point will be reached quickly (as it will be opened 24 hours a day all week long, with an automatic
system to drive it).

Many projects of le grand Paris are profitable they will permit to have an investment public/private
partnership (Gilles Carrez is in charge of this topic for the project).

The president concluded its elocution by insisting on the overall fact that the project of the Greater
Paris will be generated by a “Green growth”. The Greater Paris has to attract more Foreign Direct
Investment to France. Nicolas Sarkozy assumed that the project will be done within ten years and the
constructions of the infrastructures will start by 2012.

The demand of the president Sarkozy is clear: create a new system for Paris to promote a green
environment in order to generate a growth of the attractiveness of the Parisian area. This growth will
be articulated around major points such as investment in research, €800 million of public investment(71)
for the campus project concerning Le plateau de Saclay, which will gather different prestigious
universities and schools such as Ecole Centrale Paris, Polythech Paris or university Paris XI.

Also public transports will permit a better circulation of people in the city/region, by creating new
connections between Airports, business areas and housing areas, which will provide better revenues to
government through taxes.

The companies will also mainly benefit from the new connection of Paris to Le Havre Harbour, which
will fasten the imports and the exports, the intensification of the connection will certainly provide a
reduce of the transportations costs. This total reduction of the delivery costs will impact the final good
price, which will also provide more competitiveness to the Parisian companies, and will through this
gain of competitiveness will lead to an increase of the corporate taxes perceived by the government
and will permit to reimburse the public debt contracted to realize this project.

The president has raised many problems which will have to be solved in order to realize this massive
project (such as private/public investment partnership). Nicolas Sarkozy asked to have some answers
due to a legal regulations (creation of laws to manage and delimitate the entire project), to support the
different constructions which will be realized for the project.

We are now going to see the legal status of Le Grand Paris.

59 Nicolas Sarkozy, Allocution of « Le Grand Paris, 2007
60 Nicolas Sarkozy, « Discours du Grand Paris », Palais de l’architecture, 29th of April 2009
61 Nicolas Sarkozy, « Discours du Grand Paris », Palais de l’architecture, 29th of April 2009, 1st min 42.
62 Ibid, 6 min 42
63 Nicolas Sarkozy, « Discours du Grand Paris », Palais de l’architecture, 29th of April 2009, 25th min 15
64 Nicolas Sarkozy, « Discours du Grand Paris », Palais de l’architecture, 29th of April 2009, 28th min.
65 Ibid, 29th min 15
66 Ibid, 30th min
67Ibid, 30th min 40
68 Ibid, 34th min.
69 Ibid, 34th min 20
70 Ibid, 35th min 40
71 Dominique Malecot, Les Echos, 27 Septembre 2010

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