Sarkozy reveals plans for a 'Greater Paris'
“We need to think big”, said French President Sarkozy yesterday as he revealed ten works by architects invited to help redesign a 'Greater Paris', and pledged an investment of €35billion towards improving transport.
In an effort to reunite Paris, currently divided by a predominant ring road around the centre of the city, Sarkozy is promising a 130 km automatic metro line which will ease commuter suffering and conjoin the outer suburbs, universities and the central business district.
Answering the projected problem of a housing deficit in a city with a population currently standing at approximately 23 million, Sarkozy has also suggested that with relaxed planning laws 70,000 new social housing units could be built per year and more skyscrapers can be built in the city centre. Last year officials voted for a lift on the ban of high rises in the city centre paving the way for 20 towers earlier revealed by Mayor Bertrand Delanoe.
The French President put aside concerns for the current economic state saying, “'Greater Paris' is about the capital playing a role in the European and the world economy…I think the answer to the crisis is great projects. France will only emerge from it if we have great projects.”
Other plans include planting a new forest near Charles de Gaulle airport and developing a giant technology park in Saclay to the south. With investment from both public and private sources works could begin as early as 2012, at the end of Sarkozy's current Presidency, and are estimated to last around 10 years.