Damien Castelain, president of the European Metropolis of Lille (MEL), with the mayors of Lille and la Madeleine, gave the go ahead to the public consultation concerning the development of the Ballon neighborhood, three hectares (7.1 acres) of land at the heart of the metropolis.
The consultation to develop this exceptional site, shared between Euralille, La Madeleine and the eastern cemetery, was launched on Friday, December 11, 2015. Ambitious objectives are being set, including the development of a new neighborhood and a plan for a new headquarters for the MEL.
“The metamorphosis has been in process for several years, as demonstrated by some strong transformational elements - such as the Garden of Giants and the Cloud Square,” stated Damien Castelain, “the MEL properties constitute a parcel of 3 hectares (7.1 acres). Only one property is currently occupied by a parking lot of 230 spaces, which must be removed.”
“Fighting urban sprawl together with neighboring areas,” Martine Aubry, mayor of Lille praises the MEL president’s vision and hopes that the future headquarters will be a showcase of metropolitan expertise.
Sébastien Leprête, meanwhile, hopes that the participatory dialogue with the residents and city officials will lead to the creation of “this very lovely project, a hyphen between our two cities.” The mayor of La Madeleine identifies two challenges. First, “to find an intelligent, dual coherence between the current city and its past, as well as with the other city, that has been inventing and reinventing itself for the past 25 years.” The second challenge is the co-production of the project “in order to construct a fine piece of the Metropolis.”
Cost optimization, operational savings and the property tax revenue will allow, at first analysis, a project cost of almost zero. “We will choose the economic model that has the least amount of impact, if any, on metropolitan finances,” insisted the president. “I will propose a scenario that will follow that objective closely.”
In a year, at the end of 2016, the assembly of the MEL will decide the future of the project. Construction should begin in 2019 and should be finished in 2023. “We would like a lively neighborhood, a pleasant living environment, quality housing, in addition to recreational and commercial activities…”
How does your community fight urban sprawl? Does your community often team up with its neighbors to achieve common goals? Is participatory planning part of your community's planning process? Share your thoughts and your city's stories in the comments area below.
Original article, originally published in French here.
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