First modification: 09/03/2021 – 04:38
The ‘Greater Paris’ project is the most ambitious remodeling and reorganization program in all of Europe and one of the most important in the world so far this century. Designed to promote “a new development model that includes transport, culture, accommodation, ecology and research,” it has become a megaproject that accumulates growing contradictions and controversies, as noted by the Councilor for the Isle of France Region, Roberto Romero Aguilar .
Paris and several of the communes that surround the French capital are experiencing a transformation process of pharaonic dimensions. Before the end of the decade, the “City of Light” and its suburbs will see the emergence of more than 60 new subway and suburban train stations, as well as hundreds of more kilometers of bicycle lanes, new housing units and shopping complexes. But this major change will not benefit all the inhabitants of the Isle of France region, warns Roberto Romero Aguilar, councilor for the Isle of France Region and also an economics professor on the Greater Paris project.
The investments to finance this megaproject are exorbitant. Only for urban transport a cost of more than 34 billion euros is estimated, a figure that will undoubtedly grow much more. “Paris needed to have a broad development, although much remains to be done and the real needs of the population are not always met,” judges Romero Aguilar, who recalls that Paris as such has a population of just 2 million inhabitants.
But its population density is higher than Shanghai. “An inhabitant of Paris who works in the capital does not need to use a vehicle, he can travel by bicycle, metro or bus. The difficulty is being able to live in Paris, it is the cost of living in the city,” he recalls.
The metropolis of Greater Paris will not only be a territorial organization that encompasses more than 130 communes, but also the creation of a new administrative and political identity, and it is here that not a few contradictions reside. Indeed “the Ile-de-France Region comprises eight provinces or departments; within it is Paris, which has a double administrative situation, as a city and a department. The Greater Paris project includes the capital and three other departments, as well as seven cities. that are on the edge and agreed to be within this new organization of the territory. That is one of the contradictions because the objective was administrative simplification and in reality one more step has been added “, criticizes the councilor of the Island Region. from France.
This project was devised and began to develop long before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. As in the rest of the world, one of the consequences of this health crisis is reflected in the occupation of workspaces. In this new construction, thousands of square meters are programmed for office use, but now teleworking is developing a lot.
This is a major issue that is currently under discussion. “Before, progress was made on the issue of transportation and the economic system to host companies. Now it is a very different situation, the pandemic came and redistributed the letters,” the economics professor tells us. According to recent projections for 2025, more than one in five active workers in the Ile-de-France region will be telecommuting.
One of the objectives of this megaproject was to present a new face of Paris for the 2024 Olympic Games, but with the pandemic there were notable delays in the construction of two of the four new public transport lines, notably the one that was to link the Villa Olympic to Charles de Gaulle airport. It is a hard blow for the showcase that this project wants to be.