Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015, an informational meeting about Grand Paris took place in the City Hall of the 4th arrondissement. I was very happy to take part in it because it was very interesting. On this point, I must express my regret that information about the fact that this meeting was being held was not promoted to the public more widely. Sure, the meeting hall was full, but the problem is just that the meeting was held in the relatively small marriage hall (at the time of Dominique Bertinotti, this kind of meeting for the whole arrondissement would be held in the party hall) and above all, apart from the elected officials of the 4th and some members of the PS section of the 4th, a significant portion of the public were city staff or people who were interested in the topic without having any particular affiliation to the 4th.
However, it is important that the inhabitants of the 4th and Parisians in general become more interested in what is going to change. Indeed, as one of the participants explained very well, "Grand Paris is not a metro project" (which by the way will be more a matter of concern for the suburbs). Indeed, the law also provides for - and above all - the implementation of a new administrative level called Grand Paris. The law (which is currently being revised in Parliament) states that all the communes of the departments of the Petite Couronne will be required to participate, including, certainly, Paris. The communes located immediately to the periphery will have the possibility of adhering to it.
This grouping will unite 123 communes with a total surface area of 762 square kilometers (seven times the current surface area of Paris), with a population of around 6.7 million inhabitants. The goal of this new administrative level will be to improve the quality of life, reduce inequalities, and promote sustainable development, and allow the international penetration of the grouping.
It is interesting to note that the communes of this Grand Paris will also need to be structured into "territories" of intercommunes, which should bring together more than 300,000 inhabitants. In this framework, Paris will form a single territory (inhabited by more than 2 million inhabitants itself).
Beginning in 2016, the communes of this Grand Paris will designate 337 councilors (which will permit each collective to be represented). The City of Paris will designate 90 councilors. During the next municipal elections, the councilors of Grand Paris will be designated through universal suffrage.
A totally personal reflection on this topic (which does not concern anyone but myself) led me to ask myself: What will be the place of those arrondissements like the 4th, which have fewer than 30,000 inhabitants in this vast grouping of more than 6 million inhabitants. The suburban communes are making an effort to pool their resources and their means. Should we not think about a rapprochement of the first four (even the first six) arrondissements, which could in such a way reach a critical mass in order to wield more influence?
What are the pros and cons of forming a larger urban entity as far as representation is concerned? Have you worked on rallying citizens in your community together and was it successful? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments area below.
Original article, originally published in French, here.
Credits: Data and images linked to sources.