The Metropolitan Project of Grand Paris
Friday 23 October
3 to 5 pm
With the growth of cities beyond their traditional municipal boundaries and the increase in territorial interdependence brought about by globalization, large urban regions around the world are struggling with the question of how to effectively plan in the 21st century. In this talk I offer a critical analysis of the Grand Paris initiative as an in-depth case study of one city’s attempt to confront these dynamics. The Grand Paris project is focused on three main policy sites — architectural reimagining of the regional landscape, improved transportation in the suburbs, and governance streamlining at the metropolitan scale. I argue that the making of Grand Paris as a legible and functional metropolis proceeds through a distinctive mode of global city development, what I call “grand urbanism,” whereby the state invests in infrastructural megaprojects in order to mobilize suburban space in the service of speculative real estate, global finance, and private enterprise. I read Grand Paris as an important episode in the history of Paris and as a key exemplar of a more generic paradigm of governing bigness based on planning and policy-making in pursuit of regional gentrification.
Theresa Enright is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and Senior Fellow at the Global Cities Institute at the University of Toronto. Her primary research interests are in the fields of urban and regional studies, critical theory, and comparative political economy. Recent publications on global cities and transit-oriented urbanism have appeared in Environment and Planning A, Antipode, and the Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society. Her book The Making of Grand Paris: Metropolitan Urbanism in the 21st Century is forthcoming from MIT Press.