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A study tour by planners and developers from London revealed how Paris is regenerating areas that have lost industry through companies set up for the purpose. Looking around the 130 hectare Paris Rive Gauche area which bridges over the railway lines out of the Gare de l’Austerlitz I saw how local authorities can lead high quality mixed use development. In our discussions with French planners I was struck by both their ambition, but also the value of setting up a ‘societe mixte’ that withstands political and economic change, and mobilises investment.
The UK could learn a lot from the way the French have linked development and new infrastructure. For example they have built five times the number of tram systems and ten times the route miles. In the process provincial cities like Lille and Bordeaux have undergone a renaissance. The key has been local leadership, thanks to devolving power from the centre. I recently had an article in Planning magazine discussing French lessons for British planners, which follows a study tour of the TEN Group I led to Paris last September.

Paris Rive Gauche

The Massena quarter features a lot of green open space

Viaduc des le Artes

Viaduc des le Artes

Markets outside St Denis station

Markets outside St Denis station

The stadium kicked off regeneration at St Denis

The stadium kicked off regeneration at St Denis

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