The Second World War helped reactivate urban planning (with a focus on the issues of reconstruction and modernisation) and accentuated the widespread aspiration for stronger government intervention. However, Paris did not entirely benefit from this favourable context for regional planning. From 1944 until the early 1960s, Greater Paris seemed to be in a development crisis. The French government, focused on its territorial development policy after the war, lagged in allocating resources to the Paris region, making the provinces its priority between 1955 and 1966 (industrial decentralisation, “balancing metropolises”, urban communities). In 1960, the publication of PADOG, the general organisational plan for the Paris region, attested to a certain degree of confusion in the minds of decision-makers, who concluded that the Paris region needed to develop, while also stating that the growth of Paris must be curbed.
The proposal for regional planning at the Île-de-France level emerged from the strengthening of regional authorities (creation of the Paris District in 1961, Institut d'aménagement et d'urbanisme de la région parisienne, IAURP in 1960, Agence foncière et technique de la région parisienne, AFTRP in 1962, etc.). The 1965 Delouvrier Plan (Schéma directeur d'aménagement et d'urbanisme de la région de Paris, SDAURP), which was not officially approved but was applied with regard to major infrastructures (the RER regional railway lines and airports) and the new towns, symbolises this era in many respects. This plan was emblematic of the collusion between developers and economic and urban productivism. Planning and urbanisation became sources of economic leverage, with support from a powerful public and para-public system. To harness this leverage, the former dialogues between Paris and other global metropolises had to be strengthened. The 1960s saw numerous study trips and reports on new towns, going well beyond the British or Scandinavian models. Metropolitan examples were gathered from both sides of the Berlin Wall. Lastly, the SDAURP, as a source of French expertise, would rapidly be offered on the export market (in Latin America, Southeast Asia, the Near East, etc.). Paris was a case study that held direct interest for other major European capitals (such as Brussels) and was also studied in provincial France, which, from Lyon to Bordeaux and from Rouen to Marseille, produced major development schemes for “metropolitan areas”.
Proceedings from the Symposium on 1 et 2 décembre 2015 Auditorium du Petit Palais