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Planning model for cross-border agglomeration

Managing sustainable projects in cross border governance with participatory urban planning model
Grand Genève / Switzerland
Size of city: 
946 000 habitants


Marion Charpié-Pruvost
Responsible for urban planning in charge of a PACA
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Grand Genève is a metropolis around Geneva (CH). The agglomeration has common issues (housing, transports, environment, social cohesion) spread over two countries. This includes two distinct legislative models, three territories (Geneva Canton, Nyon District, the French Regional Cooperation Assembly - ARC), as well as a number of partners (Geneva City, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes French Region, two French departments etc.). It makes it hard to develop common policies. That is why the Local Association for Cross-Border Cooperation (GLCT) has been created. It involves politicians and civil society representatives in order to develop pragmatic projects at local scale. After professional teams presented a vision for these territories, discussion at the local level within "perimeters of coordinated urban planning" (PACA), brought to a certain amount of mobility, urban or environmental projects.

The solutions offered by the good practice

The PACA seemed the proper scale to involve all our partners at a human scale. Three teams presented their different visions of the territory, and then everybody gathered in roundtables to discuss and improve these ideas. The roundtables were the best solution we found to build pragmatic projects for urban planning. The brainstorming was very productive. Thanks to that method, we have developed projects such as buses crossing the border, with priority lanes, urban projects near the railway stations, a nature project along with our rivers etc. This is a good practice which can be developed by every city.

Building on the sustainable and integrated approach

This practice permits to mix every scope and themes of sustainable development by bringing very different actors around the table: politicians, environmentalists, architects, engineers, members of associations, industry representatives etc. The visions of the teams had to mix environment, urban and mobility themes, with the objective of building a sustainable future.

Based on a participatory approach

As explained above, the participatory approach is the key to this method. Mixing professionals, politicians and representatives of civil society are the key to a good brainstorming, to find solutions supported by all, and with each actor trying to realise them with its own skills.

What difference has it made?

What has resulted is a tool for dialogue between politicians, civil society and urban planning professionals, and an appropriate scale between the Grand Genève as a whole and individual municipalities. Intellectual emulation, better understanding between Swiss and French actors of the territory resulted, as did projects with sustainable urban living, mixing social, environmental and economic themes.

Why should other European cities use it?

This practice can be useful for each city which wants to develop a real emulation around its urban planning and which wants to involve many partners.