Europe & Central Asia » France

La Metro-Matrix du Grand Paris
  Grand Paris Metropolitan Urban Plan Metro Matrix strategic mental map
  President Sarkozy in 2007 decided to run a competition to design the ‘Grand Paris’.
The idea, apart the fact that it was in the French tradition of trying to be in the forerun of cultural and world leadership, was an excellent idea understanding that metropolitan phenomena are not contained in limited municipal areas but expand across large territories that work in a symbiosis of economic, social and environmental synergies.

The idea was good but the implementation, as is the risk of Cartesian approaches that prefix ideas to pragmatism, was wrongful. The teams selected belonged to the stardom establishment of Architecture. Professionals unable to understand the spatial mechanisms of the very large scales (1/500.000) and approached the mega-metropolitan phenomena with their limited intellectual skills of the architectural scale (1/50, 1/500, and 1/5.000)

The result was a set of anecdotal proposals with an imagery of small scale visual proposals that do not address the real problems of the mega scale. The competition did not result in any implementation policy and just remained as a promising but unsatisfactory exercise.

If Sarkozy had gathered the adequate professionals, the ones that know about mega metropolises (very few) instead of the media-glamour stardom, Paris would be now on tracks of keeping the world class leadership it has hold for so long.
La Strategie du Grand Lyon
  Lyon (France) reticular matrix metropolitan plan urban centralities
  The metropolis of Lyon has to expand towards the new airport facility that will become a central regional point for the numerous cities that rely on it.
Located against a hilly landscape to the west, the expansion area of Le Grand Lyon is necessarily to the eastern plain, the Rhone Valley, towards the airport facility. This is part of the conscious strategy set up in the Lyon Master Plan.
This expansion changes the radial growth pattern of Lyon to an eastbound linear one and, subsequently, to a reticular system along the north-south structure of the Rhone Valley.
The highway infrastructure network and the metro line to be extended out to the airport combine perfectly into the grid reticular system with the BUD centralities. Intermediate towns will have to change their role from old industrial peripheral zones to a base international service centrality along the spine which connects the metropolitan center to the airport facility.
Grande Cuvée Chateau-Bordeaux
  Bordeaux Aquitaine France Metropole Metropolitan Strategic Urban Metro-Matrix
  Bordeaux, although still in the 1.2 million range is one of the 600 metropolises of the world. With a very strong attraction point at the head of the only historic bridge (1821) that crosses the 600 meters wide Garonne, Bordeaux has a defined radial structure from that focus point.
Times have changed. Since 1965 4 bridges have been built. The socio economic activities have diversified. Other territories are taking charge of the future: The aerospace technologies in St. Medard, Health research in Pessac, Business on the TGV terminal, Innovation at the ‘rive droite’ and, to be, Food Research to the banks of the Médoc Wine county. The disregarded rail assets bound them all into a four-corner post success.
Beyond the conurbation Bordeaux has a Métropole. Not any more semi-orbital around the historical centrality. Not any more radial with the urban tram system. A reticular metropolis, with valuable roles for the different towns and centralities is crying out to be recognized and to bring the potential of a full-scale competitive world role-playing. French genius, a genius of synthesis, worthy heirs of Montesquieu and Descartes are about to discover it: A revolutionary shift of metropolitan “historique” paradigm.