the State wants to redesign the outskirts of cities, long neglected


You have to drive several minutes and cross more than a dozen roundabouts to get around the shopping area that surrounds the Cora hypermarket in Saint-Maximin, in the Oise, and its shopping arcade with around forty shops. Not getting lost in this maze of car parks and hangars of different ages is a feat. More than 300 shops, adorned with brightly colored logos, offer DIY, clothing, food or furnishings and attract more than 150,000 people on weekends.

Impossible, however, to do your shopping on foot: some stores are separated by a low wall, others by a road; still others are surrounded, with their car park, by a green fence, like this trio made up of a kebab, a supermarket and a hard discount brand. “It is to avoid the installation of travelers”justifies Eric Ravoire, managing director of Galimmo, the property company that manages the galleries of the Cora hypermarkets, by showing these 200 hectares assembled in a disparate, not to say anarchic, way, along the departmental road 1016 which enters Creil.

“Stop ugly France! »headlined in “one”, in 2010, the magazine Teleramato denounce “these peri-urban metastases”. “France of roundabouts”that of yellow vests”, pavilions, describe others; but France which consumes. “These areas now represent around 70% of retail turnover”details Emmanuel Le Roch, general delegate of Procos, the federation of specialized brands.

Also read the archive (2021): Article reserved for our subscribers Urban planning: how cities are regaining control over the development of their territories

Long neglected, city entrances, slicks of bitumen as far as the eye can see, are above all in the process of becoming strategic territories for the next fifteen years, since the climate emergency and the zero net artificialisation oblige to set up elsewhere than on agricultural land. , housing, services, warehouses, and even industries.

Commercial zone.  Saint-Maximin (Oise).  March 12, 2023.

Sirens of “complementarity with the city center”

No less than three ministries (ecological transition, city, and trade) have decided to tackle the future of these areas. Several million euros are on the table. The Action heart of the city program, initially dedicated to town centers, extended in 2023, has now one of its priorities. In the most dynamic regions, these commercial areas could thus become neighborhoods with housing, offices and public facilities.

Conversely, the government does not rule out dismantling certain stores and grouping them in smaller spaces to develop green spaces. At the end of February, forty-five candidate cities were selected to benefit from enhanced support. The private sector is also involved: this winter, the Frey property company joined forces with CDC Habitat and the Banque des Territoires to play its part in the transformation of city entrances.

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