La Défense 2050, beyond urban forms.

Cergy 2011 / France
Student Workshop
27 August 2011 / 23 September 2011

After the 2009 work about the river as a planning element for the territory, the 2010 work about the rural/urban interface of large metropolitan areas, Les Ateliers wish to focus on a specific element of the Paris’ metropolitan area: the business district of La Défense, its integration into the metropolis and its long-term evolution perspectives.

The spreading of Paris and its metropolisation have been ignored for a long time by Paris’ agglomeration’ local governments (more than a thousand!), which did not take into account metropolisation. Nowadays, these two concepts are being taken under a new consideration, and new ideas are emerging, allowing the actors to debate. The future of La Défense appears to be less clear than it was a few years ago. The dot-com bubble burst in 2000 and the financial crisis in 2007 have severely shakened up some certainties about economic growth. The demand for a more balanced territory and an improved quality of life, leaning on local economy, is in direct conflict with the concept of developing the area using economic clusters.

The revival plan for La Défense was voted in 2006 and should be over by 2015. If the launching of La Défense was based on a long-term urban strategy (30 to 40 years), the revival plan is now based on a 10 years real estate strategy. Therefore, the question for the future of this unique district will be raised again in 5 years, even though it has already changed a lot since 1958. The on-going debate about the development of Paris’ metropolitan area is a chance for the summer session to think about La Défense outside of this real estate strategy, and try to have a more global and consistent approach towards this fascinating district.

In the light of our knowledge, what is the future of La Défense on a long-term basis?

What are the revival and the evolution potential of this young district inside the metropolis?


Scientific manager : Christian HORN, architect and urban planner

Scientific comitee : Maria Basile, university teacher in geography ; Thibault de Laleu, urban planner.

Assistant : Daphné VIALAN, economist and geographer

Permanent team of Les Ateliers : Antoine PLANE, deputy director


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