- The Challenge of Growing the City within its Limits    click here to open paper content1000 kb
by    Aubert, Bernard | bernard.aubert@wanadoo.fr   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
The balance between rurality and urbanity, prescribed by the Regional Plans, involves local actions: land control, wasteland recovery, choice of saving space densities. The growth of the city inside its limits requires political will and resources.
France is a low density country that has developed itself without awaring of the damaging effects of urban sprawl. Various phenomena contribute to it: a low production rural area without defending, boroughs and cities being in favor of individual housing on large lots, projects multiplying long-term planning areas, sometimes without any connection with the traditional structure of cities.

At the national and regional level, Regional Development Plans maintain large natural areas and limit urbanization; at the local level balance between rural and urban limit is established by the Local Development Plan regulations. Unfortunately all these prescriptions do not lead to a real awareness of urban organization.

In facts, urban sprawl produces brownfield sites; slums accumulate in the old centres while new alotments spring out. The legal arsenal set up around the project controls urban sprawl with difficulty, and does not ask the question of urban practice renewal (choosed example: Paris Nord).

However, the increasing needs (200 000 accomodations in Ile de France) put into question the fragile boundaries between rural and urban zones. Actions involving local autorities are highly needed:
- Strict land control: preemption and long-term planning areas
- Reconquest of failing districts: scheduled operations bringing together private and public partners
- Land sparing : implementation of a medium density housing with highly animated public spaces, in connection to the traditional structures of the centre.

All these operations require political will and resources, while important needs are to be satisfied. It should be possible to provide for financial and technical means, beyond formal rules, and to enable long term management. This is what “communities of urban districts” are for; further more when they collaborate at the international scale in order to share their experience. Recent examples can be found on that matter (new towns of Ile de France).
Balance between rural ad urban limit-political will and ressources: strict land control, reconquest of failing districts, choice of a medium density
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