Grand Paris

Mind the reality gap: Grand Paris plan ‘a vain castle in the air that left people behind’

France — Interview

A major urban renovation project called ‘le Grand Paris’ was launched in 2007 to modernise the Greater Paris Region with the development of new centres for economic activity, the construction of more than a million new homes and a major new inter-linking transport system. Amid soaring costs and fierce criticism from environmentalists, the plan, now estimated at 30 billion euros, is under government review. In this interview with Mediapart, Jean-Pierre Orfeuil, a specialist in mobility issues and professor at the Paris Institute of Urbanism, says the project is yet another example of how the elite ignore the real social and economic needs of the public, and argues why only a radical and visionary new approach to the transport infrastructure in and around the capital will solve its current problems.