Recently reelected for the third time as Lyon’s mayor, Gérard Collomb wants things in the city to continue progressing at a brisk pace. The following is an interview with this well-known local politician.
Do you consider the overarching theme of your third term to be large urban projects?
Gérard Collomb (G.C.): Yes, we are going to continue the development of our major projects. During the course of the term, we are going to oversee ten large projects that are essential to improving the attractiveness of Lyon. We do not think that large projects should be considered to be in conflict with the quality of life in residential neighborhoods. On the contrary, in the neighborhood of La Confluence for example, the trees planted in the Place François-Mitterrand directly impact the daily lives of residents. The development of Rue Garibaldi is also a large project, but for the neighborhood’s residents, it changes everything. We have passed from a concrete block type of urbanism to a neighborhood that contains real streets and green paths for the good of all.
What large cultural and athletic facilities do you plan for Lyon?
G.C: We have always carried out the building of a large facility each term. We plan to install a new House of Dance in La Confluence.
You are making housing one of your priorities. How do you plan to build more and better housing?
G.C: We have the goal of building 8,000 to 9,000 housing units each year. This is going to require the creation of urban development zones and putting urban partner projects in place. Stopping major projects would result in delays for building housing. We are encouraging the creation of housing in all forms. Developers are picking up on how society has changed, and they are starting to propose solutions like multi-purpose areas and shared gardens. We are lucky to have available property here in Lyon in the neighborhoods of La Confluence, Gerland, or Vaise.
What are your priorities in regards to transportation infrastructure?
G.C: The redevelopment of the Perrache and Part-Dieu metro stations are part of our priorities. The former will be done over the course of the term, and the first stage of the latter will also be completed. The other major issue is completing Lyon’s beltway (the Anneau des Sciences), along with a development plan for public and sustainable transportation. The first works will be able to begin at the end of the term.
You are experimenting in order to build a more energy-efficient city. Is this going to become the norm?
G.C: As part of the operations we are leading, we have developed guidelines that set required standards of environmental quality that we must meet for buildings. In La Confluence, the area of Hikari is energy positive, and it is a prototype that will undoubtedly become the norm of tomorrow. Cities are going to change in terms of transportation and energy… there is still a lot yet to be invented.
Quality of life in the city is one of your leitmotifs. Which aspects are you going to work on?
G.C: It is one of the main features of our city. After having worked on the Park des Berges in Garland, on the Park Blandant, and on the development of the shores of the Saône, we are going to concentrate on the idea of “the garden city,” as conceived by the landscape architect Michel Desvigne for the project entitled Confluence2, as well as on green transitional areas.
What additional funds will finance your plans?
G.C: The city’s budget investment is increasing to 600 million euros. The decrease in grants destined for regional governments is forcing us to increase household taxes by 5%. This contribution of 18 million euros will go directly to financing the projects.
Does your city contain local politicians who make urban development a priority? How are they regarded?
Original article, originally published in French, here.
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